[Ed. – Sensitivity training needed at company’s highest levels.]
At first sight, the Córrego das Almas farm in Piumhi, in rural Minas Gerais state, seems to be a model property. “No slave or forced labor is allowed,” reads one of several signs that display international certifications — including one linked to the U.S.-based company Starbucks corporation.
But investigators have found that laborers on the farm’s coffee plantations were working under degrading conditions and living in substandard housing without sewerage or drinking water. A Ministry of Labor team inspection conducted at the site rescued 18 rural workers in conditions analogous to slavery.
The farm, locally known as Fartura (Portuguese for Abundance), also boasts the UTZ seal – a Netherlands-based sustainable farming certificate considered one of the most prestigious in the coffee industry. That seal of approval was suspended after the certifier was questioned by Repórter Brasil about the case.
The farm also holds the C.A.F.E. Practices certification — owned by Starbucks in partnership with SCS Global Services.