© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015Pierre Kobel, Pranvera Këllezi and Bruce Kilpatrick (eds.)Antitrust in the Groceries Sector & Liability Issues in Relation to Corporate Social ResponsibilityLIDC Contributions on Antitrust Law, Intellectual Property and Unfair Competition10.1007/978-3-662-45753-5_24
Di Blasi, Parente & Associados, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Paulo Parente Marques Mendes
The issue of the legal liability of businesspeople who advertise that they voluntarily adopt socially responsible practices but do not actually implement them is extremely new and, to our knowledge, has never been discussed in Brazil.
This issue has neither reached public discussion forums in Brazil, nor is there any news of a pending law that might deal specifically with such liability.
However, exactly as it should be, our legislation does not let businesspeople who claim to have a social conscience in an attempt to fool the general public, especially consumers, go unpunished.
24.2 The Different Types of CSR Policies Existing in Brazil
In the wake of global trends, Brazilian legislation, trade practices, as well as the influence of NGOs and government policies, have been introducing objective social responsibility duties into the field of relevant market values, to be fulfilled by businesspeople on account of their carrying out such an activity.
In our country, the principle of the social function of private and company property is covered by the Constitution. Our economic order is governed by the following principles (Article 170 of the Constitution):
social function of property;
environmental protection, also through differentiated treatment according to the environmental impact of products and services and their preparation and provision processes;
reduction of regional and social inequalities;
pursuit of full employment; and
preferential treatment for small businesses incorporated under Brazilian law and that have their headquarters and management in the country.
Within this framework, there are several laws that provide obligations or give incentives to businesspeople so that they might adopt socially responsible positions. The most common projects and measures voluntarily adopted in our country are as follows:
environmentally sustainable measures that go beyond the basic requirements of environmental law;
granting of benefits and assistance to workers and their families who live in impoverished areas (in the case of industries that exploit the agricultural region, for example);
use of technology and “green” products;
use of organic raw materials;
selection of suppliers in accordance with socioenvironmental criteria;
adoption of recycling measures that go beyond that required by law;
reduction in the use of water;
reduction in the use of energy per manufactured product;
donations and support for social and charitable acts;
support for cultural events in situations where the sponsored element is weak or inexistent (events that are not seen by the target public of the products or services);
support for sport, especially the training of children in poorer regions, without being characterized as sponsorship (incentivized sponsorship); and
a final product with less environmental impact.
24.3 Brazilian Laws Permitting the Prevention or Sanctioning of a Business that Carries Out Commercial Practices that Breach a CSR Policy Voluntarily Adopted by the Business
Brazil does not have a law that deals specifically with the violation of social responsibility commitments voluntarily assumed by a businessperson. Nor are our regulatory bodies concerned about this: they only monitor and restrain conduct that directly violates a legal obligation or one created by a specialized provision.
Nevertheless, there is a set of laws that is applicable in the repression of this type of behavior.