Brazil: Repórter Brasil celebrates 15 years of fighting against slave labour, exposing companies that benefit from exploiting workers & the environment

Garment industry Brazil_credit_Igor Ojeda and Fernanda Forato_http://reporterbrasil.org.br/2015/05/zara-corta-oficinas-de-imigrantes-e-sera-multada-por-discriminacao/

Repórter Brasil, a leading Brazilian human rights NGO, celebrates its 15 years fighting against slave labour, reporting with humanity and exposing companies that benefited from exploiting workers and the environment. Marcel Gomes, the executive secretary of the organization, says:… “…[A]…civil society organization working with media should promote human rights, identify victims and perpetrators and, above all, expose the system.”.

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Article
9 November 2016

Brazil: Repórter Brasil celebrates 15 years of fighting against slave labour, exposing companies that benefit from exploiting workers & the environment

Author: Marcel Gomes, Repórter Brasil (Brazil)

“Repórter Brasil at 15-Article written on the occasion of Repórter Brasil’s 15th anniversary argues that a civil society organization working with media should promote human rights, identify victims and perpetrators and, above all, expose the system”, 4 Nov 2016

...One cannot conceive journalism unless it is guided by advocacy of the rights denied to people...That is what Repórter Brasil tries to do...[:]...interview people in the outskirts, villages and communities...historically forgotten...[. R]eport on the humanity of those who have been systematically dehumanized...[:]...people from...Maranhão who were enslaved in cattle ranches in Pará;...Indians who lost their land to large soy farmers in Mato Grosso do Sul;...Bolivian women nursing babies while sowing at workshops in São Paulo...[T]raditional media has not been able to extend its critical coverage of governments to large companies. Perhaps their need for advertising funds is a hypothesis...[C]ivil society organizations that work with journalism and do not depend on ad money have the potential to place corporations at the center of the human rights debate. Repórter Brasil is such an example...[R]eports have revealed connections of major global brands such as Coca-Cola and Zara with cases of slave labor; of Bunge and Raízen with the purchase of raw materials in areas claimed by Indians; of JBS and Brasil Foods with deforestation in the Amazon...that benefited from exploiting workers or the environment...[T]here are plenty of cases...[not isolated]...where States and transnational corporations operate together to violate people’s rights, playing the villain’s role in class struggle...[T]hat’s how the system works, often supported by State funding and...legislation...[W]e need to identify victims and abusers. Not just describing cases, but exposing the system – that’s what I hope Repórter Brasil will be able to do even strongly in the next 15 years...

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Author: André Campos, Repórter Brasil (Brazil)

“Auditores apontam que motoristas trabalhavam em jornadas exaustivas, sem o tempo mínimo de descanso nem para dormir, colocando a sua vida e a de outros em risco”, 25 de agosto de 2016

...[F]iscalização em dois centros de distribuição de produtos da Coca-Cola em Minas Gerais identificou 179 caminhoneiros e ajudantes de entrega sistematicamente submetidos a jornadas exaustivas que configuram, segundo os auditores responsáveis pela ação, condições análogas às de escravo. Entre agosto de 2015 e março de 2016, cada um deles realizou uma média de, ao menos, 80 horas extras por mês. Situações extremas incluíam ainda médias de 140 horas extras mensais e um dia inteiro de trabalho ininterrupto...[Em]...fevereiro de 2016, um motorista relatou que, após encerrar uma longa jornada às 0h30min, chegou em casa por volta das duas da manhã com a obrigação de retornar...às 6h30...[A]lém de deteriorar a saúde dos funcionários, tal ritmo de trabalho...traz perigos à população local por aumentar o risco de acidentes de trânsito... A Spal...[, subsidiária da Femsa da Coca-Cola, e própria Femsa informaram que estão]... analisando os autos de infração...[e]...realizando ajustes operacionais relacionados à jornada dos caminhoneiros, mas nega[m]…existência de trabalho escravo em seus negócios...“A Coca-Cola Brasil...já está acompanhando o plano de ação estipulado pelo fabricante para regularizar esta situação”, disse a empresa...

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Author: Repórter Brasil (Brazil)

“Ao ter uma de suas fabricantes responsabilizada por exploração de trabalho análogo ao de escravo pelo Ministério do Trabalho, a Coca-Cola responde à Repórter Brasil”, 25 de agosto de 2016

... “O Sistema Coca-Cola Brasil, que compreende os Fabricantes, grupo do qual a Femsa faz parte, segue a política de direitos humanos estipulada globalmente pela companhia. Desta forma, a Coca-Cola Brasil determina que os parceiros estejam em conformidade com as exigências da legislação brasileira e com as normas internas do Sistema. A Coca-Cola Brasil tomou conhecimento da questão do excedente das horas extras trabalhadas pelos funcionários de Femsa, ainda que integralmente remuneradas,  e já está acompanhando o plano de ação estipulado pelo fabricante. A Coca-Cola Brasil e a Femsa estão comprometidas com uma solução urgente para o tema”...

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Company response
20 October 2015

Bunge Response

Author: Bunge (US)

The article in question includes incorrect and outdated information. In past years, Bunge sourced sugarcane from a small number of third party farms that contained land that was claimed by local communities, but not finally and legally demarcated as indigenous. The farmers who owned and operated the lands did so legally. Bunge pledged not to renew these sourcing contracts when they expired, and since the end of 2014 has not sourced any sugarcane from these areas. This information was shared with Survival International at the time, as well as with other stakeholders.  Bunge respects local and indigenous community rights and the principle of free, prior and informed consent for land purchases and use.  This is detailed in our public commitment to sustainable agricultural value chains (http://www.bunge.com/citizenship/sustainable.html). Further information on our sugarcane operations and overall sustainability performance can be found at Bunge.com/citizenship or in the GRI report of our Brazilian operating company (http://www.bunge.com.br/sustentabilidade/2015/port/index.htm).

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Company response
27 May 2015

Inditex response

Author: Inditex

 “Comments for Business & Human Rights Resource Centre”, 25 May 2015

 1.- Comments on the reports:…the core of these articles, the SOMO report about the Brazilian supply chain, is actually saying that Zara in Brazil is acting in a very positive way…[The]…conclusions…reflect the efforts developed by Inditex regarding not only the improvement of the working conditions in our supply chain, but also a more general intervention in structural problems of the Brazilian textile sector and…the social and labour integration of migrants in Brazilian society…Inditex has challenged the administrative procedure of the so called “Dirty List”, alleging that there is not room for the constitutional right of self-defense…Inditex has…been able to guarantee that there is no precarious employment among its Brazilian suppliers since 2011…[and]…has also developed a…plan …to…[train]…Brazilian business owners, combating informal labour…, and supporting the integration of immigrant communities…T]he list of recommendations for clothing brands and retailers...could be …consider as a reflect of Inditex performance…:…[its]… legal actions are…focused on eliminate any sign of arbitrariness and avoid contradictions between social goals and administrative and legal procedures…Inditex is leading both the product traceability and the transparency of its supply chain… 2. Comments on the articles: Allegations contained in these articles release in coordination by SOMO and Repórter Brasil were directly responded by Inditex to the authors…Baseless discrimination charge Zara does not have any capacity to intervene in the recruitment of employees by the companies with which it maintains commercial relationships…[it]…is just one more client…,…[it]…has been fighting against precarious employment for years…Since 2011…[it]…has invested R$14 million in various programs, fundamentally for immigrant support. 3.- Comments on the…article…“El líder contra la esclavitud infantil que incomoda a las grandes multinacionales”…The statements… by Mr. Ehsan Ullah Khan are untrue, lack any foundation and they can only be the result of an unjustified obsession with slander purpose… 

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Author: Stefano Wrobleski, Repórter Brasil (Brazil)

“MPF decide processar frigoríficos que se beneficiam de escravidão e desmatamento-Autoridades tentaram negociar ajustamento de conduta antes de decidir acionar 26 empresas na Justiça. No total, indenização por danos ambientais pode chegar a mais de R$550 milhões”, 18 de abril de 2013

O Ministério Público Federal…[MPF]…decidiu, com base em operação conjunta feita com diferentes entidades de fiscalização do Governo, processar na Justiça 26 frigoríficos, que estariam se beneficiando da compra e comercialização de bois criados em fazendas irregulares no Amazonas, Mato Grosso e Rondônia às custas de devastação florestal, trabalho escravo e violação de direitos indígenas…[As]…ações pedem o pagamento de quase R$557 milhões por danos ambientais decorrentes do comércio de 55 mil bois criados nas fazendas autuadas...As entidades fizeram um mapeamento da cadeia produtiva da carne e identificaram os frigoríficos a partir do cruzamento de dados públicos com informações sobre a localização de fazendas dentro de terras indígenas, os embargos do Ibama por desmatamento ilegal e a relação das propriedades que estão na lista suja do trabalho escravo. Antes de acionar as empresas, o MPF tentou negociar um Termo de Ajuste de Conduta…para que os grupos se comprometessem a comprar matéria-prima de produtores que não incidissem em irregularidades….[C]erca de cem frigoríficos já assinaram acordos semelhantes para regularizar suas situações socioambientais. Entre as empresas processadas está a gigante Brasil Foods, dona de marcas Sadia, Perdigão e Batavo…

[Há menção a Abatedouro Três Irmãos, Agra Agroindustrial Alim. , Agropam – Agricultura, Pecuária Amazonas, Alvorada Agroindustrial Alim., Bombonato Ind. de Alim., Brasfri, Carnes Boi Branco, Frical Frigorifico, Frig’west Frigorifico, Frigorifico Jose Bonifacio, Frigorifico Nova Carne , Frigorifico RS Ltda Epp, Frigorifico Tangará, Frigovale do Guapore Com e Ind., Guaporé Carne, JBS, Lacerda Alimentos (Frigorifico Areia Branca), Marcelo Sampaio Correa, Marfrig , Matadouro, Frigorífico Itália Indústria e Comércio, Matadouro Frigorífico do Norte Ltda (Amazonboi), Navi Carne Ind. e Com., Plena Alimentos, Rodrigo Silva Moraes Cia, Sadia, Superfrigo Ind. e Com. E Vale Grande Ind. Com Alim]

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Company response
14 June 2011

Response from Raizen to article alleging death threats against opponents and production of ethanol in occupied land belonging to Guarani Indians by its supplier in Brazil

Author: Raizen (Cosan)

...Although Raízen is closely monitoring the issue which involves the sugar cane cropping at Santa Claudina’s farm, in Caarapó (MS), it is clear that the area in dispute by legitimacy of ownership does not belong to Raízen. It belongs to a local producer who rents it to a Raízen’s sugar cane supplier. Raízen understands this issue is extremely complex, sensitive and involves many parties. And it is under court decision. However, considering its influential role in the value chain, Raízen is talking to all relevant parties involved, aiming to promote the proper understanding between them, respecting both the legitimate rights of the indigenous population as well as the legal entities which Raízen has commercial and contractual relations. Raízen maintains its policy of dialogue with the parties ever.

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Article
29 September 2009

JBS commits to Amazon deforestation moratorium [Brazil]

Author: Meatinfo UK, Online Meat Trades Journal

Brazilian beef giant JBS has agreed to stop sourcing cattle from farms responsible for deforestation of the Amazon rainforest…JBS has finally followed rivals Bertin and Marfrig in adopting moratorium …A spokesperson for JBS said… “JBS has agreed to make a commitment with Greenpeace…the adoption of the Zero Deforestation in the Amazon within the entire supply chain and the rejection of products originating from properties involved in the occupation of indigenous land and protected areas…[B]eef products can only be sourced from ranches or rural properties that are committed to the adoption of a reliable production traceability system”… The commitment has been welcomed by Greenpeace.

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