<p>Leonardo Barrionuevo, president of the Empresa Brasileira de Conservacao de Florestas, and Gaurav Kumar, project risk manager at the National Monuments Foundation, following a meeting with Global Atlanta at the Millennium Gate.</p>

Leonardo Barrionuevo, president of the Empresa Brasileira de Conservacao de Florestas, and Gaurav Kumar, project risk manager at the National Monuments Foundation, following a meeting with Global Atlanta at the Millennium Gate.

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It was during a luncheon in New York last year prior to the Rio+20 conference that Rodney Cook Jr. and Leonardo Barrionuevo met.

Mr. Cook, Atlanta’s champion of classical architecture, and Mr. Barrionuevo, president of a forest conservation group in Manaus, Brazil, shared common interests concerning sustainable development.

But it was their shared vision for how modern technologies could help preserve the Brazilian rainforest that sparked their conversation.

The accounting and consulting firm KPMG had invited Mr. Cook to the New York pre-Rio+20 conference meeting  more on the basis of his involvement in the development of new virtual 3-D technologies than for his reputation as president of the National Monuments Foundation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Barrionuevo was drawn to New York to hear former President Clinton’s preview of the sustainable development conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 years after the United Nation’s first Earth Summit, and to meet fellow enthusiasts.

"We feel that the private sector must be part of the solution for forest preservation and biodiversity preservation," Mr. Barrionuevo said.

During an interview with Global Atlanta Oct. 1 at Mr. Cook’s Millennium Gate in Atlanta’s Atlantic Station development, Mr. Barrionuevo described his involvement.

“The unique thing about us,” he said referring to his family’s business Empresa Brasileira de Conservação de Florestas, “is that we were licensed by the government to detimber, to deforest part of the rain forest, but we decided not to.”

Instead, the family petitioned the government to develop private reserves that would preserve the forest while still generating revenues.

Mr. Barrionuevo’s family owns a holding company that invests in extracting green renewable energy from landfills. It also owns a consulting company that advises projects on the United Nation’s Kyoto protocol that sets internationally binding pollution reduction targets.

Although the government supports the project, he said that it insisted on certain conditions.

“The government has obligations to guarantee the forest’s sustainability as well as improving the life of the villages surrounding the preserves,” he added.

As an alternative to exploiting the trees, Mr. Barrionueva said his group develops non-timber forest products for the beverage, cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors of Brazil’s economy while also providing food.

His group also seeks out partnerships with companies that want “to do good and to be seen doing good,” he said, especially at a time when Brazil will have the eyes of the world looking at the 2014 Fifa World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The family group also can benefit from trading carbon credits, he said, saying that based on carbon credit sharing the group already has been able to pay for the largest medical expedition ever to come to the region. This delegation included 15 doctors with diverse specialties to examine the villagers in communities around the 50,000-acre preserve.

While Mr Barrionuevo’s reasons for attending the pre-Rio+20 in New York were obvious, those for Mr. Cook’s were less so.

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