In the Media: UN launches a documentary to promote sustainable businesses

Parque Sitie, former landfill in Vidigal ©RIO+ Centre

31 August 2016, Jornal O Dia, Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - With a cell phone in hand and an idea in mind, 30 business students of from the Escola Nacional de Seguros produced the documentary 'ScenaRIO: Sustainability in Action', in partnership with the UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre), based in Rio. The 25-minute long film will showcase the stories of 16 small-scale entrepreneurs, success cases of sustainable businesses.

The global première event will take place on 21 September at the Cine Odeon, in Cinelandia, for 600 people. But the film will reach out to the world, with exhibitions in the 166 countries the UN Development Programme operates. The initiative is expected be replicated abroad. "It is the first UN documentary in the world 100% made with mobile phones, without spending anything. They are young people identifying initiatives to show incentivize stories of sustainable business success, despite of the economic crisis in the country", says Francisco Filho, who directed the film in partnership with Michelle Elsaesser from Germany.

The initiative is seen as the legacy of Rio+ 20, the UN conference that took place four years ago to kick start the global agenda of actions to preserve natural resources by 2030. "The documentary will show that the energy of the Rio+ 20 is still active. And it will give to the world a message of hope, inspiring sustainability initiatives around the world", explains Layla Saad, the deputy director of the UNDP RIO+ Centre.

In the synopsis of the documentary there is a story of a former landfill in Vidigal, which had received over 20 tons of waste. And that became a park built with recycled materials where community children have art classes.

In the same community, father and son guarantee income by using PET bottles and milk cartons to produce handbags, belts, bracelets and earrings. "This work began as a therapy and was taking shape, with an increasing demand. But we had no idea how to manage the business. We learned to use the distribution channels and began to participate in fairs and events. Today we have security to advance as entrepreneurs", says Julio Cesar de Moraes, who runs the business with his son Ricardo.

He participated in the project 'Giving New Meaning to the Future', of the Escola Nacional de Seguros, an initiative that combines education with entrepreneurship skills building. They have learned management tools, making their businesses more profitable.

The film also shows the routine of a taxi driver who uses an electric vehicle powered by solar energy. And follows the daily life of craftsmen that use garbage as raw materials to manufacture products that they sell on fairs.

The initiatives have not only transformed the reality of the entrepreneurs. The student Amanda Stenkofp, which recorded the routine of a small-scale entrepreneur selling her products at the Lavradio fair, said the experience also changed herself. "I had the opportunity to apply in practice all the knowledge I acquired in college, because I took part in the documentary. It was a great learning experience”, she says.

Refugees in the documentary

The stories recorded in the documentary will also show a universal drama and a history of solidarity for the 166 countries where it will be broadcasted: refugees who sought shelter in the Brazil were received at the São João Batista church in Botafogo, where they also found a way to survive after leaving their countries of origin.

The focus is on diversity. In a project in partnership with the community of Morro Santa Marta, the church sells used clothes. It also maintains a library-bookstore, where CDs and local books are sold. The refugees also sell soaps, decorations with soccer flags and Arabic food. Everything possible to rebuild their lives.

In another initiative portrayed in the film, the architect Cristina Camargo shows how it was possible to restore of more than 20 properties in Porto Maravilha region with exposed brick and without plaster, following a new trend.

For Professor Mario Pinto, director of the Escola Nacional de Seguros, the partnership with the UN will serve as an example to the world. "The film shows initiatives carried out with few resources, but that can generate a great transformation. It will show the world that it is possible to change the reality".

Source: Jornal O Dia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, published on 31 August 2016

Original article by Herculano Barreto Filho available at:

Translation by Patricia Basseto dos Santos


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