Blog: Ben CooperOxfam's report card for major food companies

Ben Cooper | 19 April 2016

In the sustainability arena, objective endorsement by a third party, particularly an NGO with credibility levels among consumers that even Unilever can only dream of, is an extremely valuable commodity.

As Oxfam publishes its latest Behind the Brands scorecard, which ranks the performance of ten major food and drink corporations on seven key issues of concern, the pleasure and the pain are all too easy to see.

Overall, there is some heartening news for the food sector. Judging the companies across areas such as climate change, water, women’s rights, working conditions, treatment of smallholder farmers, land rights and transparency, Oxfam says most of the companies have made "major strides to improve their policies over the three-year campaign".

Progress has been most evident in tackling gender inequality, protecting land rights and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while the least progress has been made on workers’ rights, water and transparency.

Then comes the inevitable – and generally very effective – naming and shaming. The encouraging thing for food companies, and for those who believe dialogue and cross-sector cooperation to be the most effective means of achieving meaningful change, Oxfam is good at giving credit where it believes credit is due.

Oxfam said Kellogg (+30%) and Unilever (+26%) had made the most progress across all issues since it launched its campaign in February 2013, and all of the companies had improved their overall score by at least 10% - except Danone.

While prepared to praise companies such as top performer Unilever, Nestle, Coca-Cola and Kellogg, Oxfam's “Must do better!” public admonishments for Danone and Associated British Foods are not aimed solely at those two companies, though naturally the NGO hopes it will spur those two to move faster.

Despite some “some strong progress” over the past three years, says Oxfam’s Erinch Sahan, “there is still a lot of work to do” across the board, the strong implication being that any temptation for some of the more progressive companies to take their foot off the pedal could land them on the naughty step next time.

For more on Oxfam's scorecard, click here.

BLOG

What does Gen Z want from brands? IRI presents its view

Industry watchers IRI has published the findings of two studies in the US they claim can give an insight into the shopping patterns of those aged 21 and under - Gen Z....

BLOG

The identity of the buyer of Tyson's Kettle business emerges

In February, we reported Tyson Foods had sold its Kettle business, one of a series of non-protein disposals at the US meat giant. But the company would not disclose the buyer. This week, the new owner...

BLOG

Leading French grocers eye buying "alliance" - and suppliers aren't happy

Buying partnerships between France's food retailers have been a feature of the country's grocery landscape for a number of years but this week came news of a potentially significant new tie-up - and s...

BLOG

just-food off for Easter

A point of admin: just-food is closed tomorrow (Good Friday) and on Easter Monday. It promises to be a wet public holiday here in the UK but we'll likely console ourselves in chocolate....



Forgot your password?