Flex

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Project Number: 
BR3858A-01
Expected Consideration Date by the Board: 
04/14/2015
Date Posted: 
03/10/2015
Company: 
Investee: Flex Contact Center S.A. (“Flex”)
Sponsoring Entity: 
Via BC Participações Ltda. (controlled by Topazio Silveira Neto) and Stratus SCP Brasil Fundo de Investimento em Participações
Financing Requested: 
Investment Requested: Investment of US$5 million
Sector: 
Information, Communications, and Technology
Location: 
Brazil
Country: 
Scope Objective: 

The Investee will use the funds for the following purposes: (i) increase its capacity to continue growing at a fast pace in its traditional telesales segment; and (ii) diversify into the customer care and collection areas through acquisitions, while keeping leverage ratios at low levels.

Flex is a contact center that focuses on large-scale operations in the telesales segment of the industry and has a client base of blue-chip companies in the banking, credit card, insurance, media, and telecommunications industry.

Environmental Review: 

Environmental and labor issues:

This is a Category C project according to the IIC Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy because it could produce very limited adverse environmental and social impacts. The main environmental and labor considerations related to the project are efficient resource use and pollution prevention, workplace and labor conditions, and workplace health and safety.

Flex has nine offices that operate in four cities across two Brazilian states. The offices are leased and were selected, among other factors, because of the ease of access for workers and the natural lighting and ventilation. By having offices in decentralized locations, Flex seeks to restrict employee numbers to a maximum of 2000 per office; however, in most cases, sites have fewer than 1000 employees and average approximately 800.

Efficient use of resources and pollution prevention:  Flex implements programs to rationalize energy use and it has therefore adopted the latest technology—such as LED lamps and motion sensors for lighting control— and, when possible, strives to use natural lighting and ventilation.

In accordance with Brazilian legislation, the company has implemented an Environmental Risk Prevention Program (ERPP). In the case of Flex, the risks analyzed concern working conditions at call centers and their support areas, including noise, temperature and environmental conditions, water quality, lighting, and ergonomics. The ERPP includes a monitoring plan for these parameters.

Water supply and liquid waste management: All of Flex’s offices are in urban areas. The public water networks supply the company’s water and all except one of its offices are connected to the public sewage system for effluent drainage and treatment. At one of its offices, the effluent drains into a septic tank. The company is studying the viability of using wells to source its water supply at some of its offices and is applying for the relevant licenses.

Air emissions: The offices have air conditioning equipment that uses refrigerants that are being phased out from the market (R-22). There is a program in Brazil to eradicate the use of products that damage the ozone layer and in the case of R-22, there is a pledge to gradually reduce its use, with 2013 levels as a base line and the target of achieving zero usage by 2040. The IIC will require the Company to draft a timeline for replacing the aforementioned equipment.

Waste management: At Flex’s offices, waste products are sorted in order to facilitate the collection of materials by recycling cooperatives. These cooperatives also dismantle, separate, and sort used equipment parts for recycling.  The hazardous products (fluorescent lamps and screens, toner cartridges, etc.) are disposed of by specialized companies.

Workplace health and safety and labor practices: The operating offices have alarm and firefighting systems, fire brigades, and evacuation routes with signage. All the offices have been awarded operating permits by the fire department. The company uses cameras to provide round-the-clock surveillance and is taking steps to centralize its office surveillance.

Employees receive medical assistance through private health plans that are partly sponsored by the company. Exercises to prevent occupational maladies are carried out on a daily basis. There is also a medical support program at all of its offices. 

The company’s professional development policy begins with a 45-day training at the start of an individual’s employment and continues throughout all levels of employment through management development, leadership, and teamwork programs.  Furthermore, the company has agreements with universities so that employees receive a discount at these institutions.

Flex’s workforce is unionized and the unions negotiate collective agreements with the company. The company is in compliance with local labor legislation and the ILO’s conventions. The minimum working age is eighteen years. The employees have access to a grievance line that directly reaches the advisers of the company president. There is a written code of conduct that establishes internal conduct rules and must be signed by all company employees.

Monitoring and reporting: Flex shall prepare an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) satisfactory to the IIC to ensure compliance with domestic regulations and the IIC’s environmental and workplace health and safety guidelines. The ESAP will include the obligation to comply with the ERPP and to establish a timeline for the replacement of all cooling equipment that uses refrigerants that harm the ozone layer. It shall also include the preparation of an annual report with information on the implementation of these commitments and the monitoring of environmental and workplace safety parameters.