Three U.S. companies that are leaders in their fields–Nucor in steel, Cargill in agriculture, and ThyssenKrupp Waupaca in iron castings–are three of the leading U.S. purchasers of Brazilian pig iron. What are these American leaders doing to ensure that the supply chains of their Brazilian pig suppliers–particularly the camps of men who chop or chain-saw down eucalyptus trees and smolder them for eight days to make the charcoal feedstock for pig–are upholding Brazil’s environmental and labor laws?
As one surveys the Brazilian scene for companies that are recalcitrant in meeting their responsibilities to uphold environmental and labor laws in the supply chain, Brazilian pig producer Cosipar sticks out like a sore thumb. Cosipar has been expelled from Brazil’s National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labor; it is not a member of the Instituto Carvão Cidadão (Citizens Charcoal Institute), the other Brazilian organization that ensures that its members are observing labor laws throughout their entire supply chain.
“We are not saying that the Cosipar executives are criminals,” Leonardo Sakamoto, president of Reporter Brasil, said in a phone interview. “Cosipar was excluded from the National Pact because they are not applying the actions necessary to fight slave labor in their supply chain.”
Starting on 13 August 2010, Nucor, the biggest buyer of Brazilian pig, began requiring all its top-tier Brazilian pig suppliers either to join the ICC or to sign and adhere to the National Pact. Therefore Nucor no longer buys pig from Cosipar, says Douglas Gunson, Nucor’s general counsel, although, like ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, it did so in the past.