The world’s 10 largest food companies received low overall ratings on their social and environmental policies with Associated British Foods, Kellogg’s and General Mills receiving the lowest scores, in a report released by Oxfam.
Oxfam’s “Behind the Brands” report found all 10 of the largest global food companies, including Nestlé, Unilever, Mars, PepsiCo, Danone, Mondelez (formerly Kraft Foods) and Coca-Cola, are failing millions of people in developing countries who supply land, labor, water and commodities needed to make their products.
The report ranks each company on its policies and practices on land, climate, water and transparency, as well as its social commitments to women, farmers and workers.
Nestlé received the highest overall score of 54 percent (out of 100 percent possible) with “fair” rankings in transparency, climate and water. The company, which owns brands Nescafé, KitKat and Stouffer’s, received a poor ranking for its land policy. The company has received high scores from other organizations assessing its sustainability, including a no. 1 ranking on the Carbon Disclosure Project’s list of the world’s best companies in terms of climate change disclosure and performance.
Unilever had the second-highest score of 49 percent, followed by Coca-Cola, with a 41 percent score.
ABF had the lowest score of 19 percent and received poor or very poor rankings in every category.
The report found all of the companies have taken steps to reduce direct emissions. However, only five – Mondelez, Danone, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Mars – publicly report on agricultural emissions associated with their products.
Unilever is the only company that has committed to halve its greenhouse gas footprint by 2020, according to the report. None of the companies have developed policies to help farmers in their supply chains to build resilience and adapt to climate change, Oxfam said.
The non-profit found that companies have, in general, increased their overall water efficiency. However, most have failed to put policies in place to limit their impact on local water sources. Pepsi is the only company that has publicly recognized water as a human right and committed to consult local communities. Nestle has developed guidelines for its suppliers to manage water and was ranked top for policies on water, the report said.
None of the companies have adequate policies to protect local communities from land and water grabs, despite all of them sourcing commodities plagued by land rights violations, such as palm oil, soy and sugar, Oxfam said.