An infographic based off of Oxfam’s newly released report shows how only 10 companies control nearly all of the food and beverage brands we know.
The report titled “Behind the Brands” calls out the Big 10 global conglomerates:
- Associated British Foods (ABF)
- General Mills
- Mondelez International (previously known as Kraft)
Oxfam put the report together to assess the “social and environmental policies of the world’s ten largest food and beverage companies and calls on them to take the critical next steps to create a just food system.”
Specific instances of injustice mentioned in the report are Nestlé’s practice of bottling and selling groundwater in drought-stricken or poor areas; Kraft purchasing beef from Brazilian suppliers linked to cutting down trees in the Amazon; and Coca-Cola facing allegations of child labor.
Oxfam claims that these most recent instances of injustice are not anomalies. Communities and environments around the world are being taken advantage of and affected by these major companies that rely on cheap land and labor to amass huge profits.
The Behind the Brands campaign is being created in order to evaluate “where companies stand on policy in comparison with their peers and challenges them to begin a ‘race to the top’” when it comes to social and environmental performance. Companies such as these Big 10 like to make big promises and speak out against biofuels and social injustices, but without proper assessment and accountability, their negative practices continue to outweigh their good deeds.
Behind the Brands is a part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign, which aims to build a better food system that will sustainably feed a growing population. This new campaign will increase accountability and transparency of the Big 10.
According to the recent scorecard rankings, Nestlé and Unilever are performing the best. These two companies have “developed and published more policies aimed at tackling social environmental risks within their supply chains.”
ABF and Kellogg scored the lowest, having the fewest policies addressing the impact of their operations on communities.
Overall the Big 10 companies are failing at adequately helping create a more just food system. They all undermine food security and economic opportunity for the poorest people in the world in many situations. The current implemented strategies “fail to address the root causes of hunger and poverty because companies lack adequate policies to guide their own supply chain operations.”
The main policy gaps that Oxfam notes are:
- Companies are overly secretive about their agricultural supply chains, making claims of ‘sustainability’ and ‘social responsibility’ difficult to verify;
- None of the Big 10 have adequate policies to protect local communities from land and water grabs along their supply chains;
- Companies are not taking sufficient steps to curb massive agricultural greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate changes now affecting farmers;
- Most companies do not provide small-scale farmers with equal access to their supply chains and no company has made a commitment to ensure that small-scale producers are paid a fair price;
- Only a minority of the Big 10 are doing anything at all to address the exploitation of women small-scale farmers and workers in their supply chains.
Oxfam insists that regardless of what the companies claim, they do have the power and resources to address hunger and poverty within their supply chains. This includes paying adequate wages to workers, a fair price to small-scale farmers, and eliminating the unfair exploitation of land, water, and labor.
You can read the entire “Behind the Brands” report here.