BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 24 April '16

Kellogg and Unilever among food and drink giants with improved environmental policies

The world’s biggest food and drink companies have made significant new commitments to improve their ethical and environmental policies according to Oxfam’s latest ‘Behind the Brands’ scorecard.

Major strides

The scorecard tracks 10 leading global brands including Unilever, Nestlé and Coca-Cola and ranks their performance on seven key issues: climate change, water, women, workers, smallholder farmers, land and transparency.

‘Despite some strong progress over the past three years, there is still a lot of work to do. The ‘Big 10′ must now substantially change their business models in order to deliver on their promises and ensure that workers and small-scale producers get a living wage throughout their supply chains. This could make a huge impact in helping fight poverty.

‘Giving more power and economic value to farmers, workers and food producing communities will not only be good for all of us, but also for the companies’ bottom lines in the long run.’

ERINCH SAHAN
Oxfam’s acting head of private sector

Pushed by over 700,000 actions from concerned consumers 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. Companies improved the least on the rights of workers followed by water and transparency.

Kellogg (up 30%) and Unilever (up 26%) made the most progress across all issues since the campaign began in February 2013. All of the companies but Danone have improved their overall score by at least 10%.

Strongest and poorest

Three years ago, when Oxfam kicked off the Behind the Brands campaign, the bulk of the ‘Big 10’ were lagging in their approach to social responsibility and sustainability in their supply chains. In February 2013, seven of the 10 companies had overall scores of 31% or below. In April 2016, no company scored below 36%. 

Throughout the campaign, Unilever and Nestlé have led the pack scoring high on climate change policies. Unilever achieved the overall top spot, passing Nestlé after two years. Coca-Cola, with strong policies on land rights, remains third, followed by Kellogg.

ABF, with weak commitments on farmers, gender and water, was in last place in 2013 and remains one of the poorest performers in 2016, despite improvements by some of its subsidiaries – notably Illovo Sugar on land. Danone is the other poorest performer, despite significant commitments on climate.

The 10 companies included in the Behind the Brands scorecard are Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

Click here to read the full report, The Journey to Sustainable Food: A three-year update on the Behind the Brands campaign