Moving on up: Changing the way big brands do business

Georgi York

Blog post by Georgi York

Oxfam Great Britain, Global Campaigner
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The results are in

Over 120,000 people taking action. The world’s ten biggest food and beverage companies. And one groundbreaking campaign. Combine these ingredients and what do you get? The beginnings of a significant shift towards a fairer food system for all.

Today we are excited to announce the biggest set of changes to the scorecard yet: 5 of the Big 10 food and beverage companies are moving up the rankings.

Because of action taken by you, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Nestle and Unilever have all taken steps to improve their policies and practice on key issues.

These changes prove that the companies are paying attention to you. Here are just some examples of how your campaigning has made a difference:

  • Before the campaign started, only 2 of the Big 10 companies were signatories to the UN Women's empowerment Principles – now 6 are signatories.
  • Coca-Cola has now publicly announced that they will ask their suppliers to safeguard water quality and prevent water pollution – essential steps to ensuring that there is clean, safe water available to everyone.
  • Nestle has listened to the need to recognize land rights more comprehensively and has become the first of the Big 10 to fully support guidelines that ensure their suppliers get the consent of communities prior to any land deals agreed for the sourcing of sugar, palm oil, soy and other commodities.

Congratulations to you!

Although there's still a lot to do, these companies should be acknowledged for making positive changes in the way they do business. But the congratulations are due to you, the people who made it happen! When more than 120,000 people from around the world join together to speak with one voice, the brands you love have to listen.

Every petition signature, every tweet and every Facebook post creates a clamor for change that they can’t ignore. By asking your favorite brands to make their products more lovable, you are helping to make a real change on crucial policies that impact people and the planet - like access to water, women’s rights and land rights.

And your campaigning is supported by some big players in the financial sector: more than 30 investors representing over $1.4 trillion in assets have signed a statement urging the Big 10 food and drink industry giants to improve their business practices.

This is just the start

The improvements brought about by your action are an important step towards a future where everyone always has enough to eat. But these food and drink giants need to do much more to ensure a fair food system for all.

Company scores are creeping up slowly – but they need to work faster at improving conditions for workers, being transparent about their sourcing, and supporting small-scale farmers. And the companies at the bottom of the scorecard have even more work to do – they’re getting left behind in the race to the top.

Watch this space

In the coming weeks we will launch the next phase of the Behind the Brands campaign to secure real progress from the Big 10. Now more than ever, we need your voice: to make the campaign bigger than before, so we can see even better improvements in the way these companies do business.

Why not share the news and ask two friends to join us for the next phase of Behind the Brands? Together, we can make even bigger progress towards a fairer food system for all.

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