Sustainable Development Clinic

The deep social distortions and environmental degradation caused by the current paradigm of industrial production and consumption demand a change in the attitude of companies and the State, as a regulatory body. Therefore, the Law plays a fundamental role in promoting environmental responsibility and social inclusion. Hence, the role of the Sustainable Development Clinic is to involve the student in an orientation work for NGOs and organizations of collective interest, through case studies with a socioeconomic perspective, combined with legal principles defended in the Constitution, in order to prepare a legal opinion appropriate to the needs of the assisted organization.

Founded in 2009, in partnership with the Avina Foundation, the Sustainable Development Clinic is coordinated by Professor Flavia Scabin. The clinic's main actions have focused on the impacts of the current model of development on vulnerable populations, including recyclable material collectors, local agro-extractivism communities, and those affected by infrastructure projects.

In these actions, the goal is to understand how the Law can offer answers and instruments to promote these people’s defense and inclusion.


Technical Note "Parameters for consultation and in respect to the rights of indigenous populations and traditional communities affected by infrastructure projects"

In the first semester of 2020, the Sustainable Development Clinic prepared a technical note to present the parameters for consultation and treatment of risks and adverse impacts arising from the establishment and operation of infrastructure projects in the Amazon region. With these parameters, it aims is to influence decision-making by government actors, banks, and companies involved in BR 319 paving, a road that crosses the Amazon Forest and connects the cities of Manaus and Porto Velho, crossing two Brazilian states.

The installation and operation of BR 319 have already caused a series of adverse impacts in the region, with an increase in deforestation, violence, among other problems. Specifically on the central part of the road, paving can pose risks to more than 40 indigenous populations and traditional communities.

The consultation parameters were elaborated from the identification of precedents of regional and local jurisprudence, in addition to the study and systematization of all community protocols made by indigenous people and traditional communities in Brazil. The results of this work were presented in a webinar broadcast on FGV YouTube Channel, "The case of BR 319 and the impacts of infrastructure projects in the Amazon and on the rights of indigenous people and traditional communities", on September 8, 2020. It had the participation of the Public Ministry, civil society, and representatives of indigenous people from the affected region. The Technical Note mentioned above, developed by the clinic, was also launched at the event.

Access the Technical Note "Parameters for consultation and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional communities affected by infrastructure projects" =>

National Movement of Recyclable Material Collectors (MNCR)

The National Movement of Recyclable Material Collectors brings together around 8,000 collectors and represents more than 500,000 Brazilians who depend on the collection and sale of waste for their survival.

Collectors are the base of the recycling production chain; as they do not have access to appropriate working conditions and the necessary infrastructure to carry out their work, they are pressured by chain "intermediaries" to sell the material they collect at very low prices. In Bahia, for example, PET packaging is sold by collectors at R$ 0.15 per kilo, and resold by middlemen at R$ 0.90 per kilo.

Based on this reality, students of the Inclusive Business Clinic prepared a legal opinion paper, sent to members of the National Congress who would vote to convert Provisional Measure 476 into law. This measure regarded the reduction of the tax rate on industrialized products for companies that use recyclable materials in its production chain.

Students also considered the goal of reducing social inequalities guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution. After several meetings with MNCR members, they concluded that a legal opinion had to defend the argument that only recyclable companies that bought directly from waste collectors should have access to the tax benefit. This condition was approved by law and is now a reality, enabling both collectors and companies to build profitable partnerships.

Students also analyzed the applicable legal obligations and the environmental risks involved in the development of filters for cooking oil, intending to guide a group of researchers from the Green Hub at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), who have already started experimenting the model in Brazilian waste collectors’ cooperatives.

Guide for the Implementation of the National Solid Waste Policy

The Sustainable Development Clinic was involved in the creation and preparation of the Guide for the Implementation of the National Solid Waste Policy in Brazilian cities, effectively and inclusively, in partnership with the Sustainable Cities Program.

Access the Guide for the Implementation of the National Solid Waste Policy