Coca-Cola promises zero tolerance of land grabbing
After more than 225,000 people called for action to prevent land grabs, the world’s largest buyer of sugar, Coca-Cola, have announced major commitments to respect and protect the land rights of rural and indigenous communities.
Just one month ago, Oxfam and its supporters kicked off a campaign calling on Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods, three of the largest players in the sugar industry to:
1. “Commit” to zero tolerance for land grabs.
2. “Know and Show” risks related to land rights and land conflicts in their supply chains.
3. Advocate for governments and others in the food industry to tackle land grabbing and to support responsible agriculture investment.
Coca-Cola has now promised to meet each of these asks. It has set a new standard for land policies in the industry. Once implemented, no other company in the food and beverage sector will have policies as robust on land rights.
Coke's action plan followed an Oxfam report in October 2013, Sugar Rush, which said sugar, along with soy and palm oil, was driving large-scale land acquisitions and land conflicts at the expense of small-scale food producers and their families.
Pledging to crack down on suppliers that do not adhere to relevant supplier guiding principles (SGP), Coca-Cola said: "If a supplier fails to uphold any aspect of the SGP requirements, the Coca-Cola company will work with the supplier on corrective action. If such action is not taken, the supplier relationship will be terminated."
Oxfam, which has urged Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on land grabs, welcomed Coca-Cola's move as setting a new standard for commitments in the food and beverage industry.
"Coca-Cola's leadership in declaring zero tolerance for land grabs is a vital first step," said Penny Fowler, head of private sector advocacy. "We look forward to tracking the actions the company takes to follow through on their promises. In particular we will continue to advocate, along with local partners, for appropriate resolution for the communities in Brazil and Cambodia who continue to struggle to regain the rights to their land. The ball is now in PepsiCo and ABF's court to follow suit."
Oxfam are now asking supporters to email Pepsico.
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