PepsiCo declares ‘zero tolerance’ for land grabs in its supply chain

Posted by Lucy Brinicombe Senior Press Officer

18th Mar 2014

The world's second largest food and beverage company, PepsiCo, has today committed to take steps to prevent land grabs in its supply chain following an Oxfam campaign calling on food and drink companies to respect community land rights.

PepsiCo said it will also do sweeping social and environmental assessments across its supply chains beginning with Brazil, where it buys most of its sugar, by the end of the year. This will be followed by Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines. In addition the company publicly disclosed, for the first time, its top suppliers and from which countries it sources most of its palm oil, soy and cane sugar, three commodities at the heart of the global land rush.

The company makes household favourites like Walkers, Tropicana, PepsiMax, Quaker Oats, Doritos, Copella and 7UP.

Sally Copley, Oxfam's head of UK campaigns programmes and policy said: "This is an important victory for consumer power. Global distaste of people being kicked off their land has hit home and the second largest food and drinks company has taken a stand against it. Now, suppliers who want their ingredients to be used in everything from Walkers to 7Up must ensure they're not been grown on land that's been grabbed from poor communities.

"This shows that no company is too big to listen to its customers. Consumers have the power to demand improvements in the food industry so that it is more responsible and sustainable."

Oxfam welcomes PepsiCo's commitment to "zero tolerance" for land grabbing. Additional commitments include:

  1. Adhere to the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent across its operations and require that its suppliers do the same.
  2. Conduct and publish third-party social, environmental and human rights assessments - including of land conflicts - in four major sourcing countries in Latin America and Asia.
  3. Engage with governments and international bodies to support responsible land rights practices.
  4. Engage with suppliers regarding the cases cited in Oxfam's Nothing Sweet About It report, which launched last October, to pursue resolutions that respond to community concerns.

This announcement follows similar commitments made by the Coca-Cola Company in 2013. Associated British Foods (ABF), the other target of Oxfam's Behind the Brands campaign, recently accepted the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), which helps ensure communities are consulted and give consent before the land they are using is sold. Oxfam is in dialogue with ABF-owned Illovo, the largest sugar producer in Africa, to pursue effective implementation of this new policy. 

The size of PepsiCo means it has immense power to influence its suppliers and the industry. These steps will improve transparency and accountability in PepsiCo's supply chain and help push stronger standards in the industry. As a result of these commitments, better preventative measures will be taken by PepsiCo to avoid land conflicts that drive farmers out of their homes. The company's full commitments can be seen here

The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods faced significant pressure from the public to act to address land rights. Oxfam and partners filed a shareholder resolution last November to raise investor pressure on PepsiCo to address land grabs. More than 272,000 people signed petitions and took action as part of Oxfam's Behind the Brands campaign.

/ENDS

For more information contact Lucy Brinicombe +44 (0)7786 110054 / +44 (0)1865 472192 / lbrinicombe@oxfam.org.uk

Notes to editors:

  1. Read PepsiCo's full commitment at: http://www.pepsico.com/Purpose/Performance-with-Purpose/Policies
  2. Oxfam's investigation into land grabs in sugar supply chains is available here
  3. Oxfam's Behind the Brands ranking of food and beverage companies is available at here

Blog post written by Lucy Brinicombe

Senior Press Officer

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