Oxfam critical of food firms' ethics

Screengrab from 'Oxfam - Behind the Brands' website.

Screengrab from 'Oxfam - Behind the Brands' website.


The company behind the Ryvita and Pattaks brands has finished in last place in a league table of corporate responsibility in the developing world  published by Oxfam today.

The charity assessed the agricultural sourcing policies of the world's 10 largest food and drinks companies using information in the public domain and found that American British Foods – which also owns the Primark brand – had the least well developed policies in areas including corporate transparency, female workers and climate change

In its Behind the Brands report, Oxfam investigated the social and environmental impacts of the world’s companies and assed their awareness of key issues affecting the world’s poorest farmers. It also asked if they had developed projects to understand and address key issues affecting poor farmers and assessed their commitment to addressing key issues

It said ABF was “bad for assessing impact on producers, communities and the planet” and “worse on supporting women and land rights”. It also scored poorly in its approach to climate change and while it is “making progress on transparency and workers’ rights” there was more to be done.

Kellogg’s also fared badly, with Oxfam describing its attitude to land rights, worker’s rights, and support for small-scale producers as “distinctly lacking in snap, crackle and pop”.

However, the report did say Kelloggs’ was “at least more transparent about its business than some other companies”.

In addition to ABF and Kellogg’s, the other companies included in the report are Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mondelez, Coca-Cola, Mars, Danone and General Mills.

The company which scored highest was Nestlé. Oxfam said the company was leading the way on climate change and water usage, and was the most transparent. It did, however, say that “a failure to condemn land grabs and to support women in its supply chains prevent it from being a true sector leader on policy".

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