As a developing country that has been remaking its economy in recent years, Brazil has begun to think seriously about climate change and sustainable development.

Hosted by the by the founder and Chairman of the Brasilinvest Group Mario Garnero, “Brazil: The New Global Green Economy,” was presented by Forum das Americas and the United Nations Association – Brazil (ANUBRA) this year at the Harvard Club of New York on September 26.

“We are the world’s fifth largest economy in terms of purchase power parity and yet represent only about 1% of world trade,” Garnero told Breaking Energy. He started the annual sustainable development conference, he said, “to help propel Brazil to its rightful place in the global economy, make Brazil an even more attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment and showcase to the world we have the lead on some of the most sustainable technological solutions.”

Like in previous years, our role was to stress Brazil’s stake in this game.

Garnero said that Brazil is in the process of updating its infrastructure, and will soon be globally competitive “in industries such as energy, logistics, security, IT and so many others.”

But as the country rapidly scales up infrastructure, there is growing concern that resources last and that development move forward at a sustainable pace.

According to Garnero, the country was early in building its ethanol fuel burning vehicles and now has a strong biofuel industry.

“Today, nearly 80% of Brazil’s cars run on flex-fuel engines,” he said. “Biodiesel and aviation applications are also leading the way to the future.”

At the conference, Garnero hoped to not only showcase the country’s past achievements with cleantech, but to secure new investors and business partnerships. Just this year, Garnero said, dozens of deals came though at the conference, including a partnership between Brasilinvest and Azul Airlines and ATR for the financing of aircraft production.

A bank with international presence, Brasilinvest Group was founded in 1975 by Garnero and now has major impact on the country’s economy and development. Forum das Americas in an independent non-profit think-tank dedicated to the discussion of topics related to democracy and environment.

Garnero said New York was chosen as the conference location because one of the primary purposes of the event was to explore and emphasize the connections between the United Nations and Brazilian organizations working on sustainability. Two previous conferences also took place in New York: in 2007 it was held at the Hilton Hotel and in 2008 at Cipriani Wall Street.

Brazilian Vice-President Michel Temer and Brazilian Former Defense Minister Nelson Jobim spoke, as well as former US President Bill Clinton, who has been somewhat of a leader on climate change particularly in his role as founder of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI).

During his address, former US President Bill Clinton told the conference that only some countries are building towards “future business,” economies driven by technology, knowledge and sustainable industry, according to Garnero.

Garnero added, “I hope to play a small but significant part in making Brazil a member of this small group of nations that are in the “future business.”

Photo Caption: Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff (left) gives a joint pressconference after their bilateral meeting with outgoing Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme (back right) on October 3, 2011 at the Egdmont palace in Brussels.