Exploring Fallacies and Environmental Responsibilities in the Socio-Environmental Reports of the Brazilian Company Vale S.A.: A Case Study on the Dam Disasters in Mariana and Brumadinho

  •  Lavoisiene R. Lima    
  •  Fátima S. Freire    
  •  Nilton O. Silva    


The objective of this study was to analyze the level of fallacies present in the socio-environmental reports of Vale S.A., the third-largest mining company in the world, with a focus on the incidents in Mariana (2015) and Brumadinho (2019) in Brazil. We also examined the potential relationship between socio-environmental investments, fallacies, and environmental liabilities during the period of 2010-2022. Fallacies of appeal to motives were extracted from sustainability reports using NVivo®. Data on socio-environmental investments, environmental liabilities, and company disclosures were obtained from Economatica®. Non-parametric statistical analysis using Stata® revealed that socio-environmental investment trends suggested a reduction in environmental liabilities and contingencies. However, this relationship lacked statistical significance. The variable “accident” showed a significant association with investments (p<0.02), indicating a connection between accidents and the company’s investments, impacting environmental liabilities except those related to pre-disaster events. Notably, the company implemented changes in the dam model only after the second accident in 2019, approximately four years after the initial incident. This aligns with the fallacy of appeal to motives, showing a positive and statistically significant association, suggesting an increase in this fallacy after the accidents. In summary, this research analyzed fallacies in the socio-environmental reports of Vale S.A. in the context of the dam failures in Mariana and Brumadinho. It explored the relationship between socio-environmental investments, fallacies, and environmental liabilities, revealing a significant link between accidents and the persistence of certain fallacies despite serious environmental incidents.

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