Ten biggest food and beverage companies failing millions of people who grow their ingredients

 Ten biggest food and beverage companies failing millions of people who grow
                              their ingredients

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2013

New Oxfam campaign ranks policies of food and beverage companies

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The social and
environmental policies of the world's ten biggest food and beverage giants
need a major shake-up, said international relief and development organization
Oxfam America as it launched its new global campaign called 'Behind the
Brands'. The campaign was launched with new research that for the first time
scores and ranks the agricultural policies, public commitments and supply
chain oversight of Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills,
Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080221/DC14723LOGO)

The research reveals that the "Big 10" food and beverage companies – that
together make $1 billion-a-day – are failing millions of people in developing
countries who supply land, labor, water and commodities needed to make their
products.

ABF (19%), Kellogg's (23%) and General Mills (23%) scored most poorly. They
have weaker policies than Coca-Cola (41%), Unilever (49%) and Nestle (54%) for
example.

"While some companies are doing better than others, no company has passed the
test," said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. "Some
companies have made important commitments that deserve praise. But none are
moving fast enough to help tackle hunger, inequality and poverty in their
supply chains. No company emerges with passing grades. Across the board all
ten companies are failing."

The 'Behind the Brands' campaign reveals:

  oWhile some of the "Big 10" have publicly committed to women's' rights,
    none have committed to eliminating discrimination against women throughout
    their supply chains.
  oNone of the companies have adequate policies to protect local communities
    from land and water grabs, despite all of them sourcing commodities
    plagued by land rights violations, such as palm oil, soy and sugar. Not
    one company has declared 'zero tolerance' against land grabs in their
    supply chains
  oAll ten companies are overly secretive about their agricultural supply
    chains, making their claims of 'sustainability' and 'social
    responsibility' difficult to verify. Nestle and Unilever are most open
    about the countries they source from, but no company is providing enough
    information about their suppliers.
  oCompanies are generally increasing their overall water efficiency but most
    have failed to put policies in place to limit their impact on local water
    sources. Only Pepsi has publicly recognized water as a human right and
    committed to consult local communities. Nestle has developed guidelines
    for its suppliers to manage water and was ranked top for policies on
    water.
  oAll of the companies have taken steps to reduce direct emissions, but only
    five – Mondelez, Danone, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Mars – publicly report on
    agricultural emissions associated with their products. Unilever alone has
    committed to halve its greenhouse gas footprint by 2020. None have yet
    developed policies to help farmers in their supply chains to build
    resilience to climate change.
  oNone have publicly committed to pay a fair price to farmers or fair
    business arrangements with them across all agricultural operations. Only
    Unilever – which is top-ranked for its dealings with small-scale farmers –
    has specific supplier guidelines to address some key issues faced by
    farmers.

"It's time these companies take more responsibility for their immense
influence on poor people's lives," said Offenheiser. "Eighty percent of the
world's hungry people work in food production and these companies employ
millions of people in developing countries to grow their ingredients. They
control hundreds of the world's most popular brands and have the economic,
social and political clout to make a real and lasting difference to the
world's poor and hungry."

'Behind the Brands' –part of Oxfam's GROW Campaign - will launch in more than
12 countries including the US, Mexico, China, Brazil and across Europe.

Its first public action will target Nestle, Mondelez and Mars for their
failure to address inequality faced by women who grow cocoa for their
chocolate products. Today Oxfam is also releasing a brief with first-hand
accounts of the inequality that women cocoa growers face. Oxfam is urging the
three companies to do more to know and show how women are treated in their
supply chains, create an action plan to address inequality for women in their
supply chains and engage in advocacy to influence other powerful actors to do
the same.

"No brand is too big to listen to its customers," said Offenheiser. "If enough
people urge the big food companies to do what is right, they have no choice
but to listen. By contacting companies on Twitter and Facebook, or signing a
petition to their CEO, consumers can do their part to help bring lasting
change in our broken food system by showing companies their customers expect
them to operate responsibly."

NOTES TO EDITORS:

See the full scorecard at www.oxfamamerica.org/behindthebrands

Read Oxfam's Behind the Brands report:
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/publications/behind-the-brands

Read Oxfam's media brief Mars, Mondelez, Nestle and the Fight for Women's
Rights:
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/publications/mars-mondelez-and-nestle-and-the-fight-for-women2019s-rights

Images of women cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast:
http://resources.oxfamamerica.org/pages/search.php?search=!collection1974&k=6969f243a8
Images of women cocoa farmers in Nigeria:
http://resources.oxfamamerica.org/pages/search.php?search=!collection1971&k=23d6307910

Video: The Truth about Women and Chocolate:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYqZO4fUSzg

1.Oxfam has engaged with all 10 companies during the last year who have
    cooperated in providing data to inform this scorecard. The scorecard will
    be updated if companies change their policies.
2.Oxfam rated the companies on their policies on seven topics: how they
    ensure the rights of the workers and farmers who grow their ingredients,
    how they protect women's rights, management of land and water use, climate
    change and the transparency of their supply chains, policies and
    operations. It did not review other important policies such as those
    dealing with nutrition, tax and waste, for example.

Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that
creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Together with
individuals and local groups in more than 90 countries, Oxfam saves lives,
helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice. Oxfam America is
an affiliate of Oxfam. To join our efforts or learn more, go to
www.oxfamamerica.org

SOURCE Oxfam America

Contact: Ben Grossman-Cohen, +1-202-629-6018, or +1-202-777-2907,
bgrossman-cohen@oxfamamerica.org
 
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