Earlier this week, we reported that Nucor, the biggest steel manufacture in the U.S. and the the biggest buyer of Brazilian pig-iron, has agreed to take steps to eliminate slavery in its supply chain. Pig-iron is used by virtually every car manufacturer, including Ford and General Motors. The “Socially Responsible Investment” firm Domini worked, in part, with Free the Slaves partners Reporter Brasil and Comissão Pastoral da Terra to negotiate this agreement with Nucor. In an email today, Reporter Brasil President Leonardo Sakamoto sent us his thoughts:
“We expect good results on Nucor/Domini action. You can say that it’s an important step toward—finally—bring car industries to join the Brazilian National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labor. The Pact has been signed by important companies that promised to cut out business relationships with employers that used slave labour in their farms and charcoal camps. Companies like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Carrefour, Cargill, Bunge, Vale, Petrobras, Mahle, among others that represents 20% of Brazil’s GDP.Until now, not a single representative from the car industry had signed the pact. And almost all car companies produce in Brazil, including Fiat, Ford, GM, Toyota, Volkswagen, Renault, Peageut, Scania and Volvo. It’s a challenge.”
Reporter Brasil conducted a comprehensive study that exposed Brazilian slave labor in the supply chains of several industries, including cattle ranching, coal, soy, cotton, lumber, corn, rice, beans, fruits, potato and sugarcane. With the results of this study, a “dirty list” of companies that use slave labor was created—and with it, the Brazilian National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labor. In its agreement with Domini, Nucor says it will only work with pig-iron suppliers that have either signed the Pact, or have joined the Citizens Charcoal Institute (an association of Brazilian companies that works to eliminate slavery in their supply chains).