Major Food Brands Lambasted by Oxfam for Poor Ethical Standards

Charity organisation Oxfam is calling on UK consumers to pressure major brands (using social media) into pulling up their ethical socks.

Oxfam accuses certain brands, including Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola and Kellogg's, of not living up to their promises regarding the ethics and sustainable business practises that British consumers expect. They say that brands are keeping consumers "in the dark" about how they do business.

In their 'Behind the Brands' report which was published today, Oxfam allocates each manufacturer with a scorecard rating so that Britons can better compare how brand owners perform when it comes to environmental and social impact.

The ranking criteria covers seven different areas, including the transparency of their operations and supply chains, the rights of workers and farmers who grow their ingredients, protection of women's rights, management of water and land use plus policies in place to reduce climate change.

Associated British Foods, which owns brands such as Twinings, Patak and Amoy, has been named the "worst" performer out of ten global food manufactures, although it was commended for its commitment to paying Twinings tea suppliers a living wage.

All in all, Oxfam concludes that none of the 10 major manufacturing brands, including Nestle, Mars and Unilever, achieve a good overall score on public policies or the protection of farmers, local communities and the environment.

Oxfam CEO, Barbara Stocking, commented: "It is time the veil of secrecy shrouding this multi-billion dollar industry was lifted. We are calling on the public to pile pressure on the 'Big 10' food and drinks companies so they stop being part of the problem and begin to play their part in providing solutions to the scandal which sees hundreds of millions go hungry despite there being more than enough food in the world to feed everyone."

She added: "Business as usual is no longer acceptable, all these giants must urgently raise their game and ensure that consumers enjoying their bar of chocolate or cup of coffee are also helping the world's poorest people."

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