Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences on the Brazil Travel Course. Our second entry for Friday, 1/20 comes from Tamara Stone.
Today was an early start for us as it was our transfer day from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro. On our way we had a corporate visit at BASF – The Chemical Company in Guaratingueta. Our presenter was Willi Nass, who is the Vice President at this site. BASF was founded in 1865 and is headquartered in Germany; their market segments include chemicals, plastics, functional solutions, performance products, agricultural and oil & gas. One of their products is the blue jean pigment that is used by many jean companies. Their customers include Natura, who we visited yesterday and they also work with UNICA another previous visit. In their presentation, BASF talked a lot about sustainability, such as collection of used fertilizer packages so that they could dispose of them properly. BASF owns 382 hectares of land that the plant sits upon, but BASF has turned 188 of those hectares into a reforestation and preservation project.
Mr. Nass also talked about the new strategy for 2012 and beyond: “We create chemistry”. The macroeconomics that they see as driving their strategy are the growing & aging population, urbanization, climate protection and globalization & emerging markets. All in all the presentation was very informative. Afterwards we took a tour in our bus of the facility and we saw the holding pools, chemical plants and other areas. The chemist who gave us the tour told us that they meet with the community once a month to talk about and assure them of the safety of the plant, which reminded me of the movie Erin Brockovich.
From there we continued our journey to Rio. About an hour later we stopped at a truck stop to have a buffet lunch that included many different Brazilian items. After another three hours or so we were driving by Christ the Redeemer and pulling up to our hotel on the beach in Leblon. After a quick clean up we headed out in groups to explore the area and find food on the surrounding streets. My group ended up at Casa Clipper a local hang out with cheap local food. All in all a good first night in Rio.