Event Recap

On March 28th, 2023, Northeastern Alumni and Parents in Sao Paulo gathered together to celebrate Northeastern Brazil Community’s 5th anniversary and to tune into an inspiring conversation about an innovative startup, Bureo, led by Ravi Ramamurti, University Distinguished Professor of International Business and Director of NU’s Center for Emerging Markets. Professor Ramamurti had interviewed Ben Kneppers, COE ’07, a co-founder of Bureo, a native of Massachusetts and a current resident of Brazil. Ben’s company works with fisheries and local communities across Latin America to collect, clean, sort and convert old fishing nets into raw material that companies such as Patagonia use to produce high-end clothing and accessories. It’s an inspiring example of how to do well while doing good.

Fishing nets are one of the most common types of marine debris that cause harm to marine life and the entire ecosystems. By recycling old and discarded fishing nets, Bureo is preventing them from ending up in the ocean and harming marine animals, on one hand, and helping fishing communities by donating part of their profit into their children’s well-being, education, and development, on the other.

Recycling fishing nets is a multi-step process that involves collecting, cleaning, and processing the nets into new products. The collected nets are first sorted by material type, cleaned of any debris, and then processed into pellets. These pellets are then used to create new products by Patagonia, therefore, reducing the need for virgin materials and saving energy in the manufacturing process, as well as, providing job opportunities in local communities.

After the formal speaking part, alumni and parents enjoyed a cocktail reception, meeting old friends and making news ones, sharing NU memories and discussing potential ideals for the future meet-ups.

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