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Pushing PepsiCo to the Max on land grabs

Posted by Cassie Eades Global Campaigner

18th Mar 2014

You spoke. Pepsi listened.

When enough of us speak out, companies listen. Today PepsiCo proved this.

The second biggest food and beverage company in the world has committed to put its full weight behind preventing land grabs in its supply chain. Suppliers who want their ingredients to be used in everything from Pepsi and Doritos to Tropicana and Walkers must now ensure their land is acquired responsibly.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International said: "Consumer power just got a little bit stronger. This would never have happened without hundreds of thousands of people standing up to insist that companies respect the rights of people in their supply chains. No company is too big to listen to its customers. Together we can transform the food industry if consumers demand it."

PepsiCo's announcement comes on the heels of similar commitments made by the Coca-Cola Company in late 2013 after just one month of your campaigning.

And Associated British Foods (ABF), the other company you've been calling on to act, recently created new policies committing to the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), which helps ensure communities are consulted and must give consent before the land they are using is sold. Oxfam is currently in dialogue with ABF-owned Illovo, the largest sugar producer in Africa, to encourage them to take further steps to implement this policy.

So what exactly have they committed to?

Oxfam welcomes PepsiCo's commitment to "zero tolerance" for land grabbing, including commitments to:

  1. Adhere to the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and require that its suppliers, including bottlers, do the same.
  2. Disclose the top three countries and suppliers of its cane sugar.
  3. Conduct and publish social, environmental and human rights assessments, including into land conflicts.
  4. Engage with governments and international bodies to support responsible land rights practices.
  5. Engage with suppliers regarding the cases in Brazil and Cambodia highlighted by Oxfam's Nothing Sweet About It report to pursue resolutions that respond to community concerns.

We'll be closely tracking PepsiCo to make sure they follow through on their promises - see the roadmap here.

What does this mean for farmers and their communities?

As one of the biggest food and beverage companies in the world, PepsiCo has immense power to influence its suppliers and other companies in the industry. As a result of these commitments, better measures will be taken by PepsiCo to avoid land conflicts that drive farmers off their land and out of their homes.

"We applaud PepsiCo's important step forward in declaring zero tolerance for land grabs," said Byanyima. "We will monitor the actions the company takes to follow through on this commitment. 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. Other companies must now follow PepsiCo and Coca-Cola's lead and transform the industry's approach to land rights".

Thank you.

Without your voices, this would not have happened. So we need you to be ready to speak out again in May when we launch our next action on the injustice of climate change.

For now, show that we really can move these giant companies when enough of us speak out by retweeting:

Blog post written by Cassie Eades

Global Campaigner

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Cassie Eades