Target: Ken Powell, CEO of General Mills and John A. Bryant, CEO of Kellogg’s
Goal: Enforce environmental regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the rights of farmers
According to Behind the Brands, an Oxfam GROW campaign initiative, cereal companies Kellogg’s and General Mills refuse to enforce several policies that would protect the environment and the rights of farm workers. Kellogg’s does not offer support to farming communities battling global climate change, nor will it make broad changes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the company has not committed to improving the lives of producers in its supply chain, and although it claims to support rural women, it is unclear whether Kellogg’s has more than a skin-deep understanding of women’s issues. The company does not publicly investigate or discuss the impact of its land usage on the environment, nor does it employ ethical policies regulating land purchases.
Similarly, General Mills does not know how many producers are in its supply chain, and it does not take a stance on ensuring farmers’ rights or the rights of communities to dictate their own land usage. Much of the land under the General Mills realm of influence is being used to grow crops for biofuel rather than food to combat global hunger. The company does not have policies regulating the impact of land usage on the environment, and it imposes few environmental regulations on its producers. Although General Mills has worked to end child labor, the company does not recognize a worker’s right to earn a living wage. Company leaders have little understanding of rural women’s issues, though they claim to support women’s rights. Finally, General Mills refuses to be a transparent company, rarely releasing statistics about its products to the public.
Although both of these companies have shown integrity and proactivity in regards to water issues, they are severely lacking in other ways. Both companies must reconsider their environmental initiatives and the rights of farmers under their employ. Demand that Kellogg’s and General Mills improve their performance in these areas.
Dear Mr. Powell and Mr. Bryant,
Your companies are severely lacking in environmental integrity and the protection of farmers’ rights. These are multi-faceted issues that require a great depth of understanding in a global economy battling climate change.
Farming communities within your realm of influence must receive support to fight drought and other climate-related issues. Land in poverty-stricken communities must be used for food rather than fuel, and it must be farmed sustainably for the sake of future generations. Farmers and workers under your employ must be assured by company policy of their labor and wage rights. Your company policies must also include much stricter environmental regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, it is impossible for your companies to help rural women without acquiring a deeper knowledge of the issues these women actually face.
Although we appreciate your positive work in regards to water issues, consumers, environmentalists, and laborers alike encourage you to reformulate your company policies regarding the environment and farmers’ rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: National Farm Worker Ministry via Flickr