Business Ethics & Corporate Crime Research Universidade de São Paulo
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Past collaborations

Past collaborations:

1) Yale-USP Food Law Clinic (Strategic Partnership)

2) Global Justice Partnership (University of Montreal, Canada)



1) Yale-USP Food Law Clinic (Strategic Partnership)


In order to understand the aims of this initiative, it is important to have an insight of Brazilian Food Law and its challenges. In fact, Brazil has a vast amount of land available for immediate expansion of sustainable agriculture, whereas more than one million Brazilians are still suffering under child underweight, malnourishing and child mortality. Despite the lack of systematic reviews to support a more consistent scientific knowledge on the social organization of food in Brazil, the country is indeed a fertile laboratory for Food Law. On the one hand, the leading research organization EMBRAPA (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária) celebrates highly technological advancements in the enhancement of production and prepares the platform for giant conglomerates of industrial food system. On the other hand, so many millions of Brazilians suffer under extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition at suburban and marginalized communities (favelas) and rural areas.

Many efforts to build environmental institutions, mobilization of environmental activism for pollution control and sustainable cities coexist daily with indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, natural catastrophes caused by corporate misfeasance. Over the coming decades, global warming and climate change will affect food and water security in significantly and highly uncertain ways. There are strong indications that developing countries, like Brazil, will bear these potentially adverse consequences. It is also clear that part of the food security challenge is to provide a sufficient food system for billions of people (projected 9.2 billion in 2050) that use lower energy inputs and are capable to produce lower waste within current land use limits. We are moving to an era of disruption of food production: there has never been a more pressing need for a legal system that can ensure, healthy, sustainable, and just food distributed to everyone. The world’s food supply has never been more tightly controlled by a small group of providers, whose decisions are rarely based on more sustainable practices.

US Team:

Joshua Galperin; Brian Fink

Brazilian Team:

Eduardo Saad-Diniz; Victoria Vitti Laurentiz; Sofia Bertolini Martinelli






2) Global Justice Partnership


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Environmental protection is a major concern in postmodern society. With innovation and development as a goal, human beings have an important impact in nature.

One of the most invasive man-nature relationships is the exploitation and extraction of mineral resources. These activities cause striking transformations to the ecosystems, and to the social context of surrounding communities.

This setting constitutes a homogeneous reality present in countries like Peru, Tanzania, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Tunisia and Canada, and it has now become a global problem. In order to solve it, one must appeal to the application of the principles of Global Justice.

The Theory of Global Justice is a theoretical framework that makes use of the concept of distributive justice. Distributive justice is a theory put forward principally by John Rawls (1999) to whom “Justice is happiness according to virtue.”

It is necessary to mention that justice is a polysemic term. In a theological sense, it is intrinsically related to the attainment of common good. Justice is then complex, since it varies depending on the person, institution, and context in question. It incarnates economic, political and juridical dimensions.

When talking about distributive justice, these dimensions will vary depending on the approach used. Distributive justice has developed a series of principles to be taken into account. Some of them are the liberty and independence of peoples, the legality of establishing treaties to solve conflicts, the obligation of respecting human rights, and representation.

These concepts will allow the partners participating in this project to identify the common thread guiding Indigenous communities to demand the respect for environmental rights in the territories they inhabit. It is important to mention that the communities seek to ensure environmental justice, in order to protect the value of nature, without necessarily considering nature’s usefulness to human beings.

It is worth mentioning that this international research partnership was created thanks to support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

This partnership’s mission is to investigate conflict resolution systems between extractive/exploratory companies and communities in each one of the participating countries, from a juridical and social standpoint.

Considering the intimate relationship between Earth and culture in the communities under study, the partners will analyze the main problems, challenges and consequences of the conflict resolution systems, using current casework. This includes Hudbay Minerals’ Constancia Mine in Peru, Paramo Santurban and the Atrato River in Colombia, the Innu communities in Canada, the Belo Sun case in Brazil, and the Cardones case in Mexico, amongst other cases.

The partnership has these objectives to analyze:

• The problems faced by Indigenous peoples and local communities with Canadian extractive companies in their territory;

• Conflict mechanism, methods and management developed by extractive companies and cultural communities involved in each one of the countries partnered in the investigation;

• The fundamental rights of the communities, and the new eco-centered perspective on the protection of nature’s rights;

• The creation of new mechanisms for dispute prevention and resolution.


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Belo Sun

The Canadian company Belo Sun Mining Corp. headquartered in Altamira, Para (North Brazil), is organized to exploit gold mineral resources at Volta Grande do Xingu, with a tremendous new discovery potential. Despite of all efforts to promote best governance practices and sustainable development in the region, there are significant allegations of large-scale victimization and human rights violations committed against local communities, especially concerning mass environmental harm and damages to traditional communities (Arara and Juruna).

This case will offer elements to analyze the Belo Sun case and the weak regulatory ambience available to prosecutors and regulators. It makes an effective prevention against victimization and human rights violations in the mining exploitation even more difficult. The case will offer elements to call for a stronger legal framework for corporate criminal liability in Brazil. The main purpose is to address some strategies to share the benefits of gold exploitation with local communities. This essay will also stress the need for future research and data collection for more intensive cross culture studies.

This is the case that Eduardo Saad-Diniz, professor at the University of Sao Paulo, will be investigating as part of the partnership (Faculty of Law of Ribeirão Preto and Program for Latin American Studies – FDRP/PROLAM/USP); Scholarship FAPESP/CNPQ.

The Belo Sun Case in Brazil: victimization and human rights violations in Canadian mining companies