Standing on the Sidelines: Why food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change
Oxfam explains how greenhouse gas emissions produced by the supply chains of the 'Big 10' are driving climate change and therefore hunger, and calls on these companies to address this.
Behind the Brands: food justice and the 'Big 10' food and beverage companies (PDF)
In this report, Oxfam assesses the social and environmental impacts of the world’s ten largest food and beverage companies and calls on them to take the critical next steps to create a just food system.
Interactive Excel spreadsheet of indicator data (MS Excel)
Access the raw data used to create our scorecard. All indicators, categories and scores organised by theme and company.
A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING OUR DATA
Behind the Brands methodology summary (PDF - English language only)
A more detailed version of this page and the ideal companion to understanding the indicator data.
Behind the Brands Companies Scorecard- May 2014 (PDF)
The latest version of our companies scorecard as a print-quality PDF.
Behind the Brands is part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign to help create a world where everyone has enough to eat. Right now, nearly one in eight people on earth go to bed hungry. Sadly, the majority of these people are farmers or farm workers supplying the very food system that is failing them. Yet there is enough food for everyone. That’s an outrage – but we can be the generation that ends this crazy situation.
While the food system is complex and its problems multi-faceted, we know that the world’s largest food and beverage companies have enormous influence. Their policies drive how food is produced, the way resources are used and the extent to which the benefits trickle down to the marginalised millions at the bottom of their supply chains.
Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign aims to provide people who buy and enjoy these products with the information they need to hold the Big 10 to account for what happens in their supply chains. In putting together a scorecard based entirely on publicly available information on company policies, we posed the question “what are they doing to clean up their supply chains”?
The Behind the Brands Scorecard assesses the agricultural sourcing policies of the world's 10 largest food and beverage companies. It exclusively focuses on publicly available information that relates to the policies of these companies on their sourcing of agricultural commodities from developing countries.
We based our selection on companies with the largest overall revenues globally, as well as their position in the Forbes 2000 annual ranking, which measures companies on the basis of composite sales, assets, profits and market value.
The ten companies ("the Big Ten") assessed in the Scorecard (in order of company size) are:
Associated British Foods (ABF)
The Scorecard looks at seven themes, weighing each theme equally. The seven themes are:
- Transparency at a corporate level
- Women farm workers and small-scale producers in the supply chain
- Workers on farms in the supply chain
- Farmers (small-scale) growing the commodities
- Land, both rights and access to land and sustainable use of it
- Water, both rights and access to water resources and sustainable use of it
- Climate, both relating to reducing green house gas emissions and helping farmers adapt to climate change
The Scorecard approaches six of the seven themes (all except transparency) in a similar way. Within these six themes, the indicators are grouped into four indicator categories (each worth one quarter of the score available for that theme): (i) awareness; (ii) knowledge; (iii) commitments; and (iv)supply chain management. These indicator categories rely on publicly available documents to address the following questions:
- Awareness: Does the company demonstrate general awareness of key issues relating to that theme and does it conduct projects to understand and address these key issues?
- Knowledge: Does the company demonstrate it measures, assesses and reports key issues and facts specifically in its supply chains that relate to that theme?
- Commitments: Does the company commit to addressing the key issues relating to that theme in its supply chains?
- Supply chain management: Does the company require its suppliers to meet relevant standards related to that theme?
The transparency theme is structured differently. It has a broader focus and rewards companies for disclosure on cross-cutting and corporate level issues.
What we did not assess
Across the Scorecard, some important issues that relate to the policies and practices of companies are not assessed. The scorecard is focused on the agricultural sourcing operations of the Big 10 companies so issues that do not relate to these “upstream” activities were not included. This includes critical issues such as nutrition, some of which are covered by other initiatives. Other issues we could not assess include actual practices on farms and exactly how the Big 10, in practice, use their power to shape the behavior of their suppliers. Such issues were not included for the following reasons:
a) we decided that a particular issue was not linked closely enough to the lives of small-scale farmers, farm workers and communities in the supply chains of the Big 10;
b) we were unable to find indicators that could assess the issue adequately through use of publically available information; or
c) public information available was not of adequate quality and accuracy for us to assess companies.
Where to from here?
This is not a short term challenge, and we’re committed to sticking with it. We will update the scorecard regularly and will continue to improve and strengthen it over time. The index tackles some cutting edge issues that will require rigorous debate and dialogue between companies, civil society and industry experts. For this reason, Oxfam will work with a range of stakeholders to improve how it assesses the companies, paying particular attention to new approaches to addressing supply chain issues. Through the life of the Behind the Brands campaign, Oxfam will conduct a yearly process of reviewing and improving the indicators that make up the scorecard and will be updating the data as it arises. We’ll also be looking and listening for specific cases where action can make an immediate difference.
Right across the world, consumers are seeking to make choices in line with their values and are also looking to find out more about the companies whose brands they buy. Oxfam will keep working with people around the world – on Facebook, on Twitter and in person, to push those companies to do more to ensure we all have enough to eat, today and in the future.
Find out more
Download an extended version of this article for more detail or to help you understand our data.
Visit the live web version of the Behind the Brands Companies Scorecard and navigate by issue or company.
Visit the campaign news section for recent updates and company responses.