Over the years, Gerdau has been improving its role in social responsibility and consolidating the theme in its business strategy. With the belief that the growth of its operations is directly related to the development of its business chain and of the communities where its plants are located, the Company has expanded, standardized, and internationalized its practices focused on this area over the past few years. It also began to apply management methodologies in planning, implementation, and monitoring of social projects in order to achieve even more effective results. In 2012, R$ 52.7 million were invested in more than 900 social projects that were developed in 13 countries where the Company operates. These initiatives are led by Gerdau Institute, which is responsible for the Company's social responsibility policies and guidelines, and are focused in the areas of education, emergency assistance, and quality management. Moreover, Gerdau believes that volunteering is an important transforming agent of change in society. For this reason it offers specific training courses to its employees who want to get involved in volunteer activities. As a result, approximately 8,000 employees participated in the Gerdau Volunteer Program (PVG) in 2012 by working actively in social projects supported by the Company. About GerdauGerdau is the leader in the segment of long steel in the Americas and one of the main suppliers of special long steel in the world. With over 45,000 employees, it has industrial operations in 14 countries—in the Americas, Europe, and Asia—which together represent an installed capacity of over 25 million metric tons of steel per year. It is the largest recycler in Latin America and in the world, and transforms each year millions of tons of scrap steel, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable development in the regions where it operates. Gerdau is listed on the stock exchanges of São Paulo, New York, and Madrid and has over 140,000 shareholders.