Food Corps Fail Social Responsibility - Oxfam
28 February 2013 at 9:21 am
Ten of the largest food corporations in the world are failing in their social and environmental responsibilities, according to a new report from international aid organisation Oxfam.
The charity has urged consumers to contact the multinationals via social media to let them know they expect these organisation to act responsibly.
According to the report, the “Big 10” food and beverage companies, that together make $1 billion daily, are failing millions of people in developing countries who supply land, labor, water and commodities needed to make the corporates’ products.
Nestle, Unilever, CocoCola, Pepsi, Mars, Mondelez International, General Mills, Kellogg's and Associated British Foods were rated by Oxfam on their policies on how they deal with:
- the rights of the workers and farmers who grow their ingredients
- women’s rights
- management of land and water use
- climate change
- transparency of their supply chains, policies and operations
It did not review other important policies such as nutrition, tax and waste.
“Some companies recognise the business case for sustainability and have made important commitments that deserve praise,” Executive Director for Oxfam International Jeremy Hobbs said.
“But none of the 10 biggest food and beverage companies are moving fast enough to turn around a 100-year legacy of relying on cheap land and labor to make mass products at huge profits, with unacceptably high social and environmental costs."
In a call-to-action, Hobbs said that consumers can hold the poorly performing corporates actions to account by analysing their social policies’ indication to do good.
“No brand is too big to listen to its customers,” Hobbs said.
“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.
“No company emerges with a good overall score. Across the board all 10 companies need to do much more.”
According to the report, all 10 brands failed to provide enough information about their suppliers and are overly secret about their agricultural supply chains, which make their claims of ‘sustainability’ and ‘social responsibility’ difficult to verify.
All 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. None have yet developed policies to help farmers in their supply chains to build resilience to climate change.
“It’s time these companies take more responsibility for their immense influence on poor people’s lives,” Hobbs said.