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Global Compact Introduced to Brazil


Brazil was the scene of the most recent country outreach effort to introduce the Global Compact to emerging economies around the world. On October 18, over three hundred leaders representing business, non-governmental organizations, and civil society groups gathered in Belo Horizonte for a series of panel discussions explaining the origin and objectives of the Compact and the application of its principles to labour practices, human rights, and protection of the environment.

The meeting was sponsored by a diverse coalition of which including The Federation of Industries Instituto Ethos, an association of 500 Brazilian companies collectively representing one fourth of the country's gross domestic product. Among the more 50 participating companies were Banco Itau, Compania Energetico do Brasil, Caixa Economico Federal, Minas de Serra Geral, Groupo Dantas, Unilever, Shell, and Volkswagen. The event was organized with the assistance of several United Nations agencies--the ILO, UNEP, UNIFEM, and UNICEF—and one U.S. government agency, the Brazil office of Administration for International Development.

The conference, which marked the first official meeting of the Global Compact in Brazil, concluded with plans to undertake three primary initiatives:

  • The accelerated introduction of the Global Compact to expand the number of companies engaged in its work within Brazil's business community.
  • Several partnership projects were identified for development with UN agencies, including programs to enhance workplace diversity, eliminate child labour, and extend the Compact's principles to small and medium sized enterprises.
  • A working group will assist in the development of an academic curriculum on corporate citizenship to be taught by university faculties in business, economics, and engineering .