Engagement to eradicate slave labor in Brazil
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Towards the end of 2008, the LASFF Capital Markets Committee – a working group of professionals from banks, asset management firms and institutions linked to the Brazilian capital market – developed a project designed to identify the practices adopted by publicly-traded companies to eradicate slave labor and to notify the Brazilian stock market of the risks associated with the problem of listed companies having commercial relations with suppliers that use slave labor or degrading working conditions in their production chains. The essence of the LASFF initiative is to generate knowledge about how companies handle the matter of human rights – specifically the occurrence of slave labor in their production chains – and how they manage their relations with suppliers to prevent these practices from perpetuating. It also proposes to determine whether the companies conduct any monitoring to identify potential risks that could impact their business and their activities. Furthermore, it aims to bring to the attention of the Brazilian stock market that steps can be taken to ban these practices, by engaging suppliers, running training programs, establishing contractual restrictions and even cancelling commercial relations. To achieve this goal, LASFF sent a Letter of Engagement and a questionnaire to all the companies listed on BM&FBovespa, with the intention of finding out how they handle this matter – i.e., whether the companies grasp the severity, whether they are aware of the risks and whether they adopt measures to eradicate existing practices.