Target: Ed Potter, Director of Global Workplace Rights at The Coca-Cola Company
Goal: Commend agreement to help protect land rights in communities from which the company sources its sugar
The Coca-Cola Company recently announced its intention to commit to ending land grabs following the Behind the Brands campaign by Oxfam, which is calling on the ten biggest corporations in the food and beverage industry to agree to a comprehensive list of objectives to help protect the land rights of rural farmers. Oxfam created a “Behind the Brands Scorecard” that gives these companies’ sourcing policies a score based on seven equally-weighted “themes,” which include transparency, women, workers, farmers, land, water, and climate; after scoring each of the Big 10 using the four “indicators” of awareness, knowledge, commitment, and supply chain management, Oxfam discovered that they scored lowest in land policy, and all of these food and beverage companies lacked land grabbing protections for local farmers and communities.
Recently, Oxfam, along with over 225,000 supporters, asked Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Associated British Foods to make a series of commitments to protecting local land rights, including divulging top suppliers and publishing community impact reports. Coca-Cola listened, deciding to be the first in the industry to publicly declare zero tolerance for land grabs in its broad sugarcane-producing regions, and with Oxfam’s assistance created a plan to improve its land sourcing policies. The company even posted a downloadable PDF of their commitments to “adhere to the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent across its operations and require suppliers to follow suit; disclose the top three countries and suppliers of its cane sugar; conduct and publish third-party social, environmental and human rights assessments, with an initial focus on land conflicts in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, India, the Philippines, Thailand and South Africa; and engage with governments and international organizations to advocate for responsible land rights practices.”
As Coca-Cola’s Director of Global Workplace Rights, Ed Potter, put it, “A healthy agricultural supply chain is essential to the well-being of the communities where we operate and to the success of our business.” Coca-Cola is using its global power and influence within the industry to encourage other companies to follow their lead; the Big 10 must all acknowledge that their success could not be a reality without the small-scale farmers and rural communities that produce their biggest commodity – families just like the ones these companies care about as valuable consumers.
By signing this petition, you are thanking Ed Potter and Coca-Cola for setting an example for land sourcing policies in the food and beverage beverage industry. You are thanking them for their public commitment to zero tolerance for land grabs throughout their operations, and encouraging them to continue to be a leader in the industry with respect to human and environmental rights.
Dear Director Potter and The Coca-Cola Company,
Too many rural and indigenous families and communities have suffered as a result of the land sourcing policies of the Big 10 food and beverage companies. I know that your company knows the value of the family and the community, because you put your money where your mouth is when you publicly declared your commitment to a zero tolerance policy on land grabs throughout your sugarcane-producing operations.
Thank you for proving that Coca-Cola can be a leader in the food and beverage industry by working with Oxfam to pave a new path for local land rights, environmental concern, and transparency in sourcing policies. I encourage your company to continue to set an example by overtaking Unilever and Nestle for first place and working toward a 100 percent on your Behind the Brands scorecard.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Yoninah via Wikimedia Commons