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October 1, 2013
The biggest names in the food and drink industry are not doing enough to stop land grabs and conflicts in their supply chains, says Oxfam in a new report today.
The report Nothing sweet about it: How sugar fuels land grabs highlights examples of land grabs and disputes linked to companies that supply sugar for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products, and allegations of disputes inside Associated British Foods’ supply chain.
Lauren Ravon, policy advisor for Oxfam Canada said: “Many Canadians are worried about the impact of sugar on their health. Oxfam Canada is also worried about the impact of sugar on the land rights of poor communities. Across the world they are being kicked off their land to make way for huge sugar plantations. When they lose their land they often lose their homes and their main source of food and income. Women are especially hard hit when this happens.”
“We are calling on Canadians to tell the world’s biggest producers and consumers of sugar –Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods – to act now to stamp out land grabs. Together these companies have a lot of influence and could change the way the industry does business,” she said.
The global sugar trade is worth about $47 billion. The world produced 176 million tonnes of sugar last year. The food and drinks industry accounts for more half of it. Sugar production is predicted to increase by 25 per cent by 2020. Thirty one million hectares, an area the size of Italy, is already being used to grow our sugar, much of it in the developing world.
Land grabs are big deals where local communities that rely on the land are evicted without consent or compensation. Oxfam’s “Behind the Brands” campaign says that the world’s ten biggest food and drink companies lack strong enough policies to stop land grabs and disputes from featuring in their supply chains.
Oxfam has evidence of land grabs and conflicts in Brazil and other countries including:
Oxfam is calling on Coca Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods to commit to zero tolerance of land grabs throughout their supply chains. They should publicly disclose who and where they source their commodities, publish assessments about how the sugar they purchase affects local communities’ land rights, and use their power to encourage governments and the wider food industry to respect land rights. All three companies scored poorly or very poorly on their land policies in Oxfam’s Behind the Brands scorecard.
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Notes to editors
More information, including backgrounders and videos are available at www.oxfam.ca/sugar-and-land.
Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in more than 90 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.
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