Oxfam Canada: Poor Communities Being Kicked off Land so Big Brands can Feed World's Increasing Appetite for Sugar

Oxfam Canada: Poor Communities Being Kicked off Land so Big Brands can Feed 
World's Increasing Appetite for Sugar 
OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 10/01/13 -- The biggest names in
the food and drink industry are not doing enough to stop land grabs
and conflicts in their supply chains, says Oxfam in a new report
The report 'Nothing sweet about it: How sugar fuels land grabs'
highlights examples of land grabs and disputes linked to companies
that supply sugar for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products, and allegations
of disputes inside Associated British Foods' supply chain. 
Lauren Ravon, policy advisor for Oxfam Canada, said: "Many Canadians
are worried about the impact of sugar on their health. Oxfam Canada
is also worried about the impact of sugar on the land rights of poor
communities. Across the world they are being kicked off their land to
make way for huge sugar plantations. When they lose their land they
often lose their homes and their main source of food and income.
Women are especially hard hit when this happens." 
"We are calling on Canadians to tell the world's biggest producers
and consumers of sugar -Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British
Foods - to act now to stamp out land grabs. Together these companies
have a lot of influence and could change the way the industry does
business," she said. 
The global sugar trade is worth about $47 billion. The world produced
176 million tonnes of sugar last year. The food and drinks industry
accounts for more half of it. Sugar production is predicted to
increase by 25 per cent by 2020. Thirty one million hectares, an area
the size of Italy, is already being used to grow our sugar, much of
it in the developing world. 
Land grabs are big deals where local communities that rely on the
land are evicted without consent or compensation. Oxfam's "Behind the
Brands" campaign says that the world's ten biggest food and drink
companies lack strong enough policies to stop land grabs and disputes
from featuring in their supply chains. 
Oxfam has evidence of land grabs and conflicts in Brazil and other
countries including: 

--  A fishing community in Pernambuco State, Brazil fighting for access to
    their land and fishing grounds, after having been violently evicted in
    1998 by a sugar mill. The mill provides sugar to Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
    Many of the families are now living in slums of the nearest town and
    struggling to make a living. 
--  In Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil indigenous communities are fighting the
    occupation of their land by sugar plantations supplying a mill owned by
    Bunge. Coca-Cola buys sugar from Bunge in Brazil but says it does not
    buy from this particular mill. The plantations have destroyed the
    forests that the people had relied upon for food. 
--  Associated British Foods (ABF), through their ownership of Illovo,
    Africa's biggest producer of sugar cane, has also been linked in media
    reports to land conflicts in Mali, Zambia and Malawi. 

Oxfam is calling on Coca Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods
to commit to zero tolerance of land grabs throughout their supply
chains. They should publicly disclose who and where they source their
commodities, publish assessments about how the sugar they purchase
affects local communities' land rights, and use their power to
encourage governments and the wider food industry to respect land
rights. All three companies scored poorly or very poorly on their
land policies in Oxfam's Behind the Brands scorecard. 

--  Coca-Cola is the world's largest buyer of sugar and controls 25 per cent
    of the global soft drink market. Its portfolio of 500 brands includes
    Diet Coke, Sprite, and Minute Maid Juices. 
--  PepsiCo controls 18 per cent of the soft drink market and has a
    portfolio of 21 brands including Pepsi, Tropicana, Doritos, and Lipton
--  Associated British Foods is the world's second largest sugar producer
    and the owner of popular brands such as Ovaltine and Twinings Teas. 

Notes to editors 
More information, including pictures, testimonies and videos are
available at www.oxfam.ca/sugar-and-land. 
Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked
together in more than 90 countries, as part of a global movement for
change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.
Oxfam Canada
Melanie Gallant
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