Brazil: Beraca Hosts Workshop for Suppliers in Amazon  

3rd annual workshop offered a forum for dialogue and discussion on sustainability issues

January 2013

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Group photo from the event in Belém, Pará, Brazil where over 40 representatives attended this workshop, including SAI Representative Beat Grüninger who presented on the issue of child labor in Brazil. [Photo credit: Beat Grüninger]

On December 4, 2012 in Belém, Pará, the São Paolo-based natural products company and SAI Corporate Member, Beraca, hosted its third annual workshop with its community of suppliers from Brazil's Amazon region. Over 40 representatives attended from producer groups that supply oil seeds and different products indigenous to the Amazon to Beraca's factory in Belem.

The workshop offered a space for suppliers' dialogue about work and to discuss any issues that they face with regard to commercialization and the proper organization of their productive chain. The workshop also highlighted different aspects of the certifications that Beraca has earned, such as the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), EcoCert, USDA organic certification and SA8000.

SAI Representative Beat Grüninger from BSD Consulting attended the event, and presented on the issue of child labor, which is a frequent concern in northern Brazil. A 2011 study conducted by the Brazilian Institute for Statistics IBGE estimated that about half a million individuals under 16 are at work in this region; in Brazil as a whole it is estimated that there are over 3.5 million.

This topic led to a discussion about to what extent agricultural tasks assigned to young family members can be accepted, as these suppliers are mostly small, informal family businesses of seed and plant extraction and collection. A key topic was how to administer, monitor and control practices to avoid hazards. An important conclusion drawn was that it is fundamental to raise awareness in the producer group´s communities, because it may be unclear where is the line between traditional family tasks, age old local customs and being part of a commercial production chain. Thus there can be inherent risk that young workers are exposed to unsafe working conditions. 

During the Forum titled "Beracom," the German Technical Cooperation organization (GIZ) and Beraca gave a presentation on their public-private partnership (PPP) that will help develop producer groups with support for business management and good social and environmental practices. SAI participated in the project development and design.

Beraca is one of the largest suppliers of natural and organic ingredients for pharmaceutical and cosmetics manufacturers, including cosmetics brands such as L'Occitane, L'Oreal, Kiehl's, Natura and Aveda. It has been an SAI Corporate Member at the Explorer level since June 2010. Beraca was also one of the six companies featured in the 2010 report, "From Principles to Practice: The Role of SA8000 in Implementing the UN Global Compact" published by CIPE, SAI and the UN Global Compact. The report included case studies of six companies using SA8000 as a tool to improve business and sustainability.

For more information, please contact SAI Communications Manager Joleen Ong - JOng@sa-intl.org.

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