Going In Circles (Of The Best Kind)

B. Lorraine Smith
7 min readJun 8, 2020
From left to right: Gustavo Cardoso, Linda Oliveira, Leandro Santos, Lorraine Smith, Juliana Lopes and Carlos Ohde.

After a presentation I gave about the regenerative economy in São Paulo, Brazil last September I was approached by an enthusiastic gentlemen named Leandro Santos. He claimed to know of an example of a large company that had a lot of the regenerative characteristics I had just described, and he was keen to tell me all about it.

As the event was mostly attended by people from heavy industry, a cohort not typically known for its restorative impacts, I probably had a slightly skeptical look on my face. He pressed onwards: he knew it to be true because he is the general manager of this business.

Further, he declared that not only was this business zero waste, almost fully circular, and focused on net-positive social and environmental impacts, it was like an entire Brazilzinho. A mini Brazil, eh? I was intrigued. I accepted another cafezinho and settled in to hear the story of Flex — a global technology manufacturer — in Brazil. I’m glad I did.

Following our chat I was given an open invitation to visit their facilities in Sorocaba, about an hour outside of São Paulo, one of several experiences validating my logic of booking a few weeks in Brazil after my talk. Just like I did the last time I said “Yes!” to an ad hoc invitation to check out an innovative business near São Paulo, I recruited Juliana Lopes to join me on the adventure. She is the founder of Pulsarcom, a communications and systems-change consultancy (of which I recently became a proud associate — but that’s another story) and she humours my random invitations in response to random invitations.

One fine Thursday we headed out to Sorocaba. We were greeted by Leandro who might as well be Willy Wonka’s first cousin, such was his enthusiasm for the many experimental rooms he led us to throughout the day, and such was the magic of the things we saw. Except that this wasn’t a fictitious chocolate factory — it was an actual electronics factory.

IT Client Demands Led To Radical Innovation

Flex is a multinational manufacturer of electronic equipment. The Brazilian operation makes laptop computers, printers, cell phones and servers. These products are shipped to global clients including recognized IT industry leaders such as HP who have been increasing the social…



B. Lorraine Smith

Former sustainability consultant replacing ESG with reality-based insights about corporate purpose and impact. https://www.blorrainesmith.com/