By Helder Marinho and Lucia Kassai
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, suspended a supply contract with Cosan SA Industria & Comercio after the Brazilian sugar maker was added to a government slavery “blacklist.” Cosan said it won an injunction ordering it be removed from the list.
Walmart is the first retailer to come out with sanctions against Cosan after the sugar producer was added Dec. 31 to a Brazilian Labor Ministry’s list of companies whose workers operate in slave-like conditions. Walmart’s local unit said it temporarily suspended purchases of Cosan’s Acucar Uniao and Acucar da Barra sugar brands.
Walmart “vehemently repudiates any practice that does not respect human rights,” the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said in a statement.
Walmart’s move follows a decision by Brazil’s national development bank BNDES to cut off Cosan from financing. The inclusion on the blacklist means Cosan isn’t eligible for new loans and won’t receive future installments of agreed-to financing, BNDES said yesterday in a statement.
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