Unilever tops Oxfam’s Behind the Brands Scorecard

Unilever has overtaken Nestlé in Oxfam’s 2015 ‘Behind the Brands’ report, which ranks the 10 biggest food and beverage companies on their policies and commitments to improve food security and sustainability.

The scorecard covers seven themes impacting the lives of people living in poverty around the world: transparency, farmers, women, agricultural workers, access to land, water and climate change.

Unilever tops Nestlé with an overall score of 71 percent compared to Nestlé’s 69 percent.

Eight of the “Big 10” international food and beverage companies have improved their overall scores since February 2014 but French dairy producer Danone and the US based Coca-Cola Company have failed to improve in the overall scorecard.

UK based ABF remained in last place, reaching only 30 percent in total. Three other companies – Kellogg, Danone and General Mills – do not reach half of Unilever’s score of 71 percent.

Dairy giant Danone still held a joint Sixth place in 2014 but now falls to a shared eighth place with General Mills. Danone also scored the lowest on any theme in the scorecard for supporting the rights of women farmers and agricultural workers, receiving just 1 out of 10.

The Walk the Talk scorecard reveals that the “Big 10” are more serious about social and environmental issues, although both ambition and implementation varies enormously.

The “Big 10” are Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

BtB Scorecard FEB 2014

“After two years of sustained pressure from the hundreds of thousands of Oxfam supporters, The “Big 10” are definitely moving in the right direction. However, the real challenge has just begun. Companies now need to start putting new policy commitments into practice. Only then will real change happen for the millions of small farmers and agricultural workers. It is high time for companies to walk the talk,” says Monique van Zijl, international campaign manager for Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign.

Van Zijl adds, “Farmers is the lowest overall scoring theme on the scorecard. Six of the ten companies perform particularly badly on this theme and the majority of the companies still turn a blind eye to farmers in their supply chains. Extreme weather patterns are on the rise and destroy farmers’ livelihoods across the world. Now more than ever companies must take responsibility to support workers and farmers in their supply chain to adapt to climate change.”

‘Behind the Brands now enters its third year and what it shows is that no company is too big to ignore the demands of their consumers. The same goes for their suppliers, agricultural producers and traders that are also starting to change in line with the demands of the ‘Big 10”, says van Zijl.

The full report can be downloaded here.