WASHINGTON, DC — On World Food Day, thousands of people around the US joined international relief and development organization Oxfam America to call on the world's biggest sugary beverage companies, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, to help prevent human rights violations in their supply chains. Oxfam and its supporters held actions at Coca-Cola and PepsiCo headquarters and in communities across the country, to demand that the companies take steps to prevent land grabs that leave small farmers hungry.
A recent investigation by Oxfam found that the biggest brand names in the food and beverage industry are relying on suppliers who have grabbed land from small-farmers in countries like Cambodia and Brazil. The report highlights examples of land grabs and disputes linked to companies that supply sugar for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products, as well as allegations of disputes inside Associated British Foods' supply chain. More than 50,000 people have already taken action by signing Oxfam's petition calling on the three food and beverage giants to improve their policies to prevent land grabs by their suppliers.
"Consumers are demanding that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo take responsibility for how their ingredients are produced," said Judy Beals, campaign manager for Oxfam's Behind the Brands campaign. "These companies are immensely powerful and they have the ability and the responsibility to stand up for communities where their ingredients are grown."
Land grabs happen when local communities that rely on land to feed their families and earn a living are evicted without consent or compensation. Oxfam's "Behind the Brands" campaign has warned that the world's ten biggest food and drink companies, including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, lack strong enough policies to prevent land grabs and land disputes in their supply chains.
Oxfam is calling on Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, as well as Associated British Foods, to become leaders in their industry by making a commitment to zero tolerance of land grabs in their supply chains, to publicly disclose from whom and where they source their commodities, and take other measures to prevent land rights violations.
"The message from consumers is only growing stronger and harder for companies to ignore," said Beals. "The time for action is long overdue."