Shell, the Dutch oil giant has announced a $12 billion joint venture to produce agrofuels with a company in Brazil known for committing severe human rights abuses including forced labor.
The project would produce agrofuels from sugar crops in Brazil in partnership with Cosan—a company that has been placed on a blacklist by the Brazilian Labor Ministry for mistreating workers, employing minors and failing to supply drinking water at the workplace. Cosan has won a temporary judgment to get off the blacklist, but Brazil’s Attorney General has promised to keep prosecuting the case.
Worse yet, industrial agrofuels themselves are often environmentally destructive and the broader sugar industry in Brazil is a hotbed of abhorrent labor practices. Shell shouldn’t be making such a gigantic investment without establishing clear, enforceable and ambitious business standards governing labor and environmental practices to ensure that its operations do not support forced labor or destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
Send a letter to Shell encouraging the company to put this deal on hold until Cosan resolves its case with the Labor Ministry in Brazil and makes strong commitments to protecting worker rights and the environment.