In a legal career that’s spanned more than 20 years, São Paulo, Brazil, native and resident Bruno Camargo has worked around the world for some multinational corporations while earning many legal degrees and instructing students, too.
Camargo considers himself a legal disruptor because of his generalist approach to the law.
“I’m the guy that goes away from particular specialization to a broader sense of knowledge,” he says. “The training and education in other areas I like allows me to grow and understand the world more comprehensively.”
Whether working in-house or in private practice, Camargo’s passion is helping clients and companies embrace environmental, social and governance, as well as human rights, diversity, equity and inclusion, and anticorruption and antitrust policies. As he chatted with Vanguard in September, he was about to start his new venture at Amsterdam-headquartered Liance Legal.
Though the firm is based in the Netherlands, it enjoys a multinational list of clients as it expands into Latin and South America. In Camargo’s role as head of the Latin American desk, he will be covering from Mexico to Argentina and Caribbean nations.
“I was drawn to the firm because we’re like-minded,” he says. “All the partners have strong prior in-house experience. They take on practical, tangible and workable cases. It’s a very pragmatic firm, and they want to invest in an ESG agenda, which is already important in the Netherlands.”
Counsel on compliance
Camargo says he expects to work with clients in startup and growing companies, especially in the life sciences, agriculture and consumer products sectors. Latin America is ripe for business expansion because of abundant natural resources and a strong labor pool, and he says it will be his responsibility to help clients understand the regulatory compliance requirements that touch on so much of any company’s operations.
For instance, because countries including Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, Camargo says they have reformed anticorruption laws and fair-trade legislation over the past several years. Other countries, such as Brazil, are also working to become OECD members.
Also, nations have enacted strict new protections for data protection and personal privacy, and Camargo says he can help new clients comply with human rights standards in employment and labor, whether it’s their operations or suppliers and vendors.
He’ll also be able to help companies meet environmental standards, including complying with regulations for emitting scope 2 and 3 greenhouse gases that are emitted indirectly from sources such as purchased electricity, steam, heat and cooling or are indirect emissions associated with a company’s activities.
As Camargo works with clients, he’s also going to emphasize the benefits of environmental, social and governance policies and procedures because strong practices can bring investment as well as gain some tax and market benefits in the region.
“There are a lot of connecting points that don’t seem so obvious,” he says. “Pollution and employment violations can also carry a reputational risk, but there are opportunities to comply and attract investors because of ESG.”
Working and learning
Camargo’s career has included living and working in the U.S., United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and he was educated by Canadian nuns in São Paulo as a boy.
He says he had been urged to become an attorney as he grew up because he wrote well—and argued well, too. He earned his bachelor’s degree in law in 1998 from UNIFMU, but he says it was when he began practicing corporate and international business law at Noronha Advogados that he truly found his calling.
As he settled into private and then in-house practice with TIVIT, an IT and data center solutions provider, Camargo continued his education by earning his MBA from Ibmec in 2004.
In fact, his career has been one of continuing education as he studied IT law at the University of Cambridge and earned Master of Law degrees in European Union law from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and international business law from Tilburg University. Camargo also has certifications in leadership in corporate counsel from Harvard Law School and ESG specialization from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Camargo has taught ethics and compliance courses at Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa in Brazil and lectured on those topics and anticorruption at LEC.
A holistic approach
His career has included a 10-year tenure with Philips, where he served in various counsel and compliance roles in the Netherlands and São Paulo. He had risen to general legal counsel and senior director when he became the founding partner of the ethics and compliance, anticorruption investigations and M&A division at the private firm of AZFC Advogados.
In April 2018, he joined Swedish multinational medical device manufacturer Getinge. He was tasked with helping the company reach settlements with the Brazilian government regarding fraud charges over company bidding proceedings from 2004 to 2017. He also helped shape the ESG framework within the company’s global operations to improve sustainability efforts.
Camargo’s work in ESG, especially social and environmental matters, extends into additional endeavors such as founding Paková Katú, which means “nice banana” in tupi-guarani, an indigenous dialect spoken in southeast Brazil. Paková Katú works with the Nature Conservancy to recover rainforests and create carbon credits while planting olive trees and other vegetation and promoting water conservation and sewage management.
“I hope to be in a position where I can really work more and more with impact businesses and human rights with action in environmental conservation and multinational organizations,” Camargo says. “I want to be able to share my knowledge in new ways to do business by applying my holistic views.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Fall III 2023 Edition here.
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