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Food company supply chains improve says watchdog

OXFORD, UK: April 19, 2016: Nine of the 10 global food and beverage companies have improved land rights policies, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and gender equality in their supply chains according to Oxfam.

Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever generate revenues of more than US$1.1 billion per day and their supply chains are linked to every part of the global food system.

In the three years since Oxfam began measuring the companies with its “Behind the Brands” scorecard, it says only ABF has failed to improve by more than 10 percent per annum. Kellogg (up 30 percent) and Unilever (up 26 percent) have made the most progress across all themes since the campaign began. 

Unilever RotterdamIn 2013 Oxfam found most of the 10 companies were lagging in their approach to social responsibility and supply chain sustainability with seven of the ten producing overall scores of 31 percent or below. In its latest scorecard, no company scores below 36 percent.

“These food industry giants all demonstrated that they do listen to consumers by making some bold policy commitments. We hope this will inspire others to follow suit,” said Behind the Brands campaign manager, Monique van Zijl.

Throughout the three-year period Unilever and Nestlé have led their peers with high scores on climate change. Coca-Cola, with strong policies on land rights, remains third at 57 percent, followed by Kellogg at 53 percent. ABF, with weak commitments on farmers, gender and water, was in last place in 2013 and remains one of the poorest performers this year with 36 percent. Danone is the other poorest performer despite significant commitments on climate says Oxfam.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman said the results reflect the progress the company is making to reduce its environmental footprint while increasing its social impact: “The FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) industry as a whole has made some strong commitments in recent years, notably in terms of value chain approach. However, we must recognize that there is still much more to be done.

“The Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement have provided us with a global framework towards progress, but [it] can only be achieved through accelerated partnerships and collective action to drive truly transformative change at scale,” he added.

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