Home Region

Oslo, Norway; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Major Current Activities

  • African Plantations for Sustainable Development (APSD)
  • Founder and Chairman of Lorentzen Empreendimentos S.A.
  • Chairman of Instituto Bioatlantica (IBio)
  • Founding Member and President of the Board of World Business  Council for Sustainable Development — Brazil (CEBDS)
  • Honorary Chairman of Council of the Brazilian Foundation for  Sustainable Development

Career Highlights

  • Lorentzen Empreendimentos S.A., President, 1953-2006
  • Aracruz Cellulose S.A., Founder and Chairman, 1968-2004
  • Business Council for Sustainable Development/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD/WBCSD), 1990-2006
  • Coordinator of the “Changing Course” chapter of the book presented by the WBCSD at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992
  • Chairman and Coordinator of the WBCSD report, Towards a Sustainable Paper Cycle, 1994-1996
  • Leader in Norwegian underground resistance to German occupation during World War II

Erling Lorentzen, a native of  Norway, became a sustainability leader by way of his family’s shipping  interests in Brazil. Settling there with his young family in 1953, Lorentzen  pursued entrepreneurial ventures in shipping and energy/liquefied petroleum  gas. In 1968, he discovered his life’s work in the forestry and pulp industry.  Realizing that Brazil’s climate made it possible to grow trees in a fraction of  the time required in Europe and North America, Lorentzen seized the competitive  advantage by founding Aracruz Cellulose. He created eucalyptus forests in an  unforested but fertile area of the Brazilian interior and built what was to  become the world’s largest short fiber pulp mill. These forests reached  maturity in seven years, providing two key advantages: a rapidly renewable  resource and the ability to conduct research on productivity and quickly  implement innovations.

“I created Aracruz to be an environmentally sound industrial company. When the concept of sustainable development became well known following the Brundtland Report to the United Nations in 1987, I became involved in renewable forestry worldwide through the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and I continue to address environmental problems in my current work.”
Today Lorentzen is deeply involved  in two initiatives in Ghana through his African Plantations for Sustainable  Development (APSD). One project focuses on carbon neutral thermoelectric power  generation with a long-term development potential of 600 megawatts, fueled by  biomass from sustainably managed eucalyptus plantations. The second project  involves plantation development that will eventually provide raw material for a  1.5 million ton per year pulp mill. These plantations will substantially  contribute towards reversal of the rapid deforestation of Ghana, while  capturing and permanently storing substantial volumes of carbon dioxide.