What have the world’s biggest food companies got to do with land grabs? More than you might think.
Companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods (ABF) buy and produce huge amounts of sugar around the world. And as demand for sugar increases, so does the rush for land to grow it on.
In Brazil and Cambodia, Oxfam found that companies that supply sugar to Coke and Pepsi have robbed farmers of their rights and kicked them off their land. ABF - the biggest sugar producer in Africa - is reported as linked to a range of other unresolved land disputes. Whole communities have lost their main source of food and income.
Companies like Coke, Pepsi and ABF hold significant influence over the sugar industry, but their policies are so slack that they don’t seem to know if their sugar is grown on grabbed land.
You can change this. Even the biggest food companies care what you think – because you buy what they sell.
So tell Coke, Pepsi, ABF and the rest to make sure their sugar doesn’t lead to land grabs.
Here’s what you can do to make sure your sugar doesn’t lead to land grabs:
Know: You must know how the sugar you produce or source impacts communities’ access to land, and whether you and your suppliers are respecting land rights;
Show: You must show where the ingredients you use come from – and who grows them;
Act: You must act by committing to zero tolerance for land grabs, throughout your supply chains and your own operations. You must also work with governments and others to do the same.
As a consumer and an Oxfam supporter, I'm urging you to act now. As some of the world's biggest buyers and producers of sugar, you have a responsibility to make sure your sugar doesn’t lead to land grabs.