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Food brands make “major strides” on environment commitments

Make sure you’re sitting down. Oxfam has applauded the world’s biggest food and drink firms for making “significant commitments” to improve their ethical and environmental policies.

The charity’s latest “Behind the Brands” scorecard, which tracks the 10 largest food and drink companies, shows “major strides” have been made in areas such as gender inequality, protecting land rights and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Kellogg (up 30%) and Unilever (up 26%) made the most progress across all issues since the campaign began in February 2013. All of the companies, bar Danone, have improved their overall score by at least 10%.

Unilever topped the table with a score of 74%, closely followed by Nestlé (69%). Danone and Associated British Foods propped up the other end, both scoring just 36%.

Erinch Sahan, Oxfam’s acting head of private sector, said there is “still a lot of work to do” across the board.

In a summary paper accompanying the scorecard he explained that in order to accelerate the transformation towards a more sustainable food system, the companies must “fundamentally re-write the business models in their supply chains to ensure that much more power and much more of the value their products generate reaches the farmers and workers who produce their ingredients”.

The scorecard tracks policies on seven key issues: climate change, water, women, workers, smallholder farmers, land, and transparency.