Many men, women and children in South America earn their income in precarious conditions as scrap collectors. Gerdau, a multinational steel company headquartered in Brazil, gets much of its scrap metal through informal collectors. To improve their working conditions and to improve the quality of the material delivered, Gerdau and GIZ are working with these small suppliers to integrate them into the supply chain - an investment that pays off for both sides.
3,000 scrap collectors in Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay have been trained by Gerdau and GIZ in basic entrepreneurial skills. They learn how to issue invoices, recognize good quality scrap metal, and to separate and sort scrap. Together with NGOs in the respective countries, courses and peda-gogical materials are being developed to improve the technical training of workers and also to motivate civil society to improve the skills, productivityand competitiveness of the workers. This material will be available to future initiatives. Most scrap collectors had previously worked in precarious conditions, risking their health and hence are also provided training in health related issues. These efforts have resulted in making reliable business partners who receive a fair price for their supplies to Gerdau. Under the partnership, Gerdau also developed a monitoring system for activities across the entire value chain.