The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) announced today that Marcos Jank is stepping down as President of the organization, the most important institution representing Brazilian producers of ethanol, sugar and bioelectricity. UNICA's Board of Directors was officially notified of the decision at the monthly Plenary Session for March, held today at the organization's headquarters in Sao Paulo.
To ensure a smooth transition, Jank and the Board have agreed that he will remain in the position until a new President is appointed. The Board expects to launch a selection process in the next few days.
"As I prepare to move on to new challenges, there is still much to be done at UNICA and in agribusiness as a whole, because of its vital and growing importance in the search for solutions to major global issues connected to food and energy security, particularly considering population growth and the scarcity of natural resources," commented Jank.
He added that he hopes UNICA will continue advancing towards new levels of excellence, serving as a benchmark among trade organizations within and beyond Brazil. "I firmly believe that institutions must always be strengthened because individuals may come and go, but institutions remain and forge ahead with their missions, so they must be our priority," he concluded.
Jank joined UNICA in 2007 and led a major reform of the organization's objectives and strategy. Government relations were intensified at all levels, producing significant results for the Brazilian sugar-energy industry on a variety of fronts, including labor relations, fiscal, economic, regulatory and environmental policies. UNICA gained prominence abroad with the opening of offices in Washington and Brussels in 2007 and 2008 respectively, a first among industry associations in Brazil. Under Jank's leadership, UNICA's international work played a key role in two major achievements: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2010 decision to designate sugarcane ethanol as an "advanced biofuel," in recognition of its documented ability to sharply reduce CO2 emissions compared to gasoline; and the expiration at the end of 2011 of the US$0,54 per gallon tariff, imposed by the United States on imported ethanol for more than three decades.
During Jank's tenure, the sugar-energy industry made solid strides in terms of socially and environmentally sustainable practices. UNICA became the first agribusiness-related organization in the world to prepare a sustainability report rated A+ under Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, covering the sustainable performance of its member companies. UNICA directly influenced major, globally recognized initiatives like the development of the Bonsucro certification standard. In Brazil, the introduction of the RenovAcao Project, designed to retrain former field workers whose jobs have been replaced by mechanized sugarcane harvesting, was also a milestone: RenovAcao has already retrained some 5 thousand workers for new positions in the sugarcane industry and in other areas where there are unfilled positions.
Under Jank, UNICA made it a priority to proactively disseminate its positions and activities in an objective and transparent manner, intensifying efforts to meet increasing demand for information from both the Brazilian and international media. Expanded access to the sugar-energy industry in Brazil resulted in nearly 1,000 visits by foreign delegations from 65 countries between 2007 and the end of 2011. A number of initiatives adopted by UNICA became benchmarks for other trade associations. One example is the AGORA Project, which brings together 19 companies and organizations connected to the sugar-energy industry in a single, integrated marketing and communications effort, recognized by the Brazilian Corporate Communications Association (Aberje) as the best project of its kind in Brazil for 2011.