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IGS Chapter Focus: Brazil

All roads lead to Rio thanks to the forthcoming GeoAmericas 2020 conference. But before the IGS community arrives in Brazil en masse, we thought we’d share some information about the dedicated team organizing the event. André Estêvão Silva, President of IGS Brazil, explains more about the country’s active chapter.

André Estêvão Silva, President of IGS Brazil
André, please give us an overview of the chapter.

“IGS Brazil was founded in 1997. In 2017 we celebrated 20 years as an organization. We’ve always focused on two things: building awareness about the potential of geosynthetics, and delivering education and training. There’s a great video at which explains more about what we do.”

Tell us about your members?

“We have about 200 members, which makes us one of the largest IGS chapters. Our members represent a cross-section of the general public, students, academics, consultants and professionals within the industry. We’re fortunate to also receive the support of 20 sponsoring companies.”

What has been key to the growth of the chapter?

“The passion of our people! Every member brings something different, but as a collective we are motivated and dedicated to spreading the word about geosynthetics solutions. We also have a lot of fun together, which always helps.”

How well developed is the industry in Brazil?

“Geosynthetics are well accepted in Brazil in general. We have a good market size, and all the main products and typical applications are present. The local industry has a quite technical touch. The main niches are, to my perception, infrastructure (mainly transportation) and environmental (landfill and environmental rehabilitation); the use of geosynthetics in the mining sector is also clearly increasing in Brazil.”

What are the key activities of the chapter?

“We’re very active in the production of Brazilian standards for geosynthetics, and run courses, seminars, and technical conferences. These range from ‘introductions to’ sessions to training for university professors as part of our Educate the Educators program. We often host guest speakers and run regular competitions and awards – including a photography contest, case histories and student-specific awards. We’re very proud to have run seven national conferences and one international conference. Our aim is always to create a healthy, conducive environment for learning, development and innovation.”

Tell us about GeoAmericas 2020.

“We’ll be welcoming around 1,000 representatives and up to 47 exhibitors to Rio de Janeiro in April next year. Our conference theme is geosynthetics solutions for a fast-changing world, and we have an agenda that truly reflects that. We have training opportunities, a dedicated scientific area and unrivalled networking opportunities. Topics will include geosynthetics in infrastructure, environmental, hydraulic and mining applications, railway and highway uses, and sustainability. But there’s a lot more planned than just that.”

What else can attendees expect?

“We promise an experience to remember. In 2010 we hosted the 9th Edition of the International Conference on Geosynthetics in Brazil and learned a lot from that. For 2020, we have some great guest speakers lined up, including Dr Richard Brachman, who will deliver the inaugural Zornberg Lecture. As well as the conference we have numerous networking opportunities and of course the opportunity to experience Rio – an incredible city.”

GeoAmericas 2020 runs from April 26 to 29 at the Windsor Expo Convention Center. To find out more about the conference visit the dedicated show website at