Rodrigo Sales

Academic background

Graduated in Law at the School of Law of the University of São Paulo – USP (1988), holding a Master’s Degree in Environmental Law obtained at the Vermont Law School (1995), summa cum laude, in the U.S., where he concentrated his studies in the legal aspects of Environmental Auditing; PhD obtained at the School of Law of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, where he focused on the possible applying of international Emission Trading Schemes of reductions of greenhouse effect emissions in Brazil.

Professional experience

Partner of Sales e Kesselring Advogados, a law firm founded in October 2012, following return to Brazil after a four-year period in Australia, where he studied Climate Change and developed specialized practice in sustainable businesses. Prior to that, he was engaged as an Associate Attorney and later Principal of a major international law firm (1996-2010), where he coordinated the implementation of the environmental and climate change practices in Brazil. Specialist in sustainability matters, Rodrigo has an integrated vision of the environmental, climate change and environmental markets fields, and the interface thereof with consumer protection, corporate governance and social responsibility of organizations areas. His engagement covers both the activities of compliance with the regulations (preventive and correction steps), transaction activities and public and private investment. In the environmental law field, Rodrigo has vast professional experience in legal risk management, in the prevention area (e.g., compliance programs and legal environmental audit, risk assessments) as well as individual dispute and class action resolution, and also in commercial transactions.

His engagement in the mining field includes assessment of environmental contingencies in acquisition operations, support and analysis of licensing proceedings, assessment, dispute resolution and crisis management of logistics operations (maritime and land), research and market analysis of global legal requirements to mitigate greenhouse gas effects. Following a major accident in the mining segment, he comprised a multidiscipline team in the drafting of a Systemic Pilot Plan for the resuming and sustained continuity of the company’s operations and of Emergency Action Plans for mining waste dams in the Ferrous Quadrilateral region and northern region of Brazil. Rodrigo is currently a member of the Work Group involved with “Safety of Dams and Regulatory Landmarks: contributions for the technical and regulatory improvement” at the Center of Studies and Technological Research in Environmental Mining Law (CEPDMA), deriving from the academic convention between the Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC/SP) and Vale Foundation.

In the management of legal risks and compliance areas, Rodrigo’s experience includes the development of self disclosure of environmental issues strategies, legal management of environmental recovery and remediation programs, development and deployment of legal environmental auditing and social responsibility programs, negotiation of consent agreements, definition, adoption and conduct of litigation (administrative and judicial) strategies to settle disputes, f solid wastes management and reverse logistics programs, integration of compliance management and sustainability systems, and management of social-environmental crisis.

In the business operations area, Rodrigo’s engagement in the past 20 years includes participation in mergers & acquisitions, privatization, project finance, structuring of investment funds and strategic planning of investment in Brazil and of Brazilian companies abroad, concentrated on the identification, contingency and incorporation of sustainability and corporate governance aspects in commercial operations in various market segments.

Rodrigo’s professional experience also includes the implantation and consolidation of the Environmental, Climate Change, Consumer Protection and Social Responsibility Practice Group at a major international law firm, and the implantation of legal practice in Australia focused on the fostering of sustained business operations between Brazil and Oceania, Japan, China and Southeast Asia. His engagement in climate change projects includes legal assistance in business operations, including CDM, VERs and REDD carbon projects in Brazil and abroad, assistance to investment funds, drafting and negotiation of finance agreements, international transactions of companies and carbon project portfolios, and consultancy services to banks and companies concerning low carbon emission strategies and sustained investments in renewable energy areas, agribusiness, forest assets management, among others.

Rodrigo has also participated in the analysis of pioneer regulation systems related to the payment of environmental services (PSA) and integration of environmental assets in public and private accounting systems. He was also instrumental in the analysis of climate change regulations in the first platform of carbon credit negotiation in Latin America and in legal opinions on the rights of the Brazilian Suruí Indians in connection with their demarked land in the Brazilian Amazon region, in addition to having figured as an ad hoc consultant of a multilateral bank in the legal qualification of national authorities designated by Latin American countries under the Kyoto Protocol and of the Brazilian government in the negotiation of compliance aspects under the Kyoto Protocol. His engagement in the consumer protection field includes the planning and implantation of commercial strategies, product recall, implantation of direct credit to the consumer programs (CDC), marketing campaigns and legal management of consumer relations programs focused on the prevention or mitigation of disputes.

Rodrigo’s professional experience is built on solid legal knowledge, coupled with intra-discipline knowledge of technical, economic and market aspects of the fields in which he is engaged and his interaction with high-caliber professionals in various areas. His professional experience in Brazil and abroad also includes participation as a speaker in international environmental and climate change events in Latin America, Australia, the U.S., Europe and Japan, favoring a multicultural approach in assisting his clientele in different social-economic and cultural scenarios.


Public recognition of the work activities of Rodrigo Sales includes awards and citation of specialized publications, such as ‘Análise Advocacia’ (Lawyers’ Review) indicating Rodrigo as one of the most admired lawyers of Brazil in the fields of environmental and consumer protection law, in addition to his recognition as leader in the environmental and climate change areas for several years, by PLC Which Lawyer and Chambers, among others.


Rodrigo Sales wrote the book ‘Auditoria Ambiental e seus Aspectos Jurídicos’ (Environmental Auditing and its Legal Aspects), published by Ed. LTr, 2001, in addition to several articles and chapters in co-writer books such as ‘International Environmental Auditing’, David D. Nelson (main author and editor) (Government Relations, 1998), ‘Environmental Law and Policy in Latin America’ – Brazil Chapter (Baker & McKenzie, 2000); ‘The Financial Industry and Sustainable Development’ (Swisscam Brazil, Vol. 37, 2004), ‘Responsabilidade Social e o Direito’ (Social Responsibility and Law) – in ‘Inovação, Legislação e Inserção Social’ (Innovation, Legislation and Social Insertion), Instituto UNIEMP, 2005; ‘Environmental Requirements and Additionally under the Clean Development Mechanism’ – in ‘Yearbook of International Environmental Law’ – Volume 16 (Oxford University Press, 2005); ‘Global Product Recall Handbook’ – Brazil Chapter (Baker & McKenzie, 2006); ‘Critérios Essenciais de Responsabilidade Social e Seus Mecanismos de Indução no Brasil’ (Essential Social Responsibility Criteria and Its Mechanisms in Brazil), Instituto Ethos, 2006, ‘Aspectos Jurídicos do Projeto de Carbono dos Índios Suruí (Legal Aspects of the Carbon Project of the Suruí Indians) – in Desmatamento evitado (REDD) e Povos Indígenas – Experiências, Desafios e Oportunidades no Contexto Amazônico (Prevented Deforestation (REDD) and Indigenous Tribes – Experiences, Challenges and Opportunities in the Amazon Region Scenario), Instituto Socioambiental and Forest Trends, 2010.


Portuguese (native), English (fluent) and Spanish (conversation level).