Now more than ever, consumer expectations are high for brands. A consumer’s love for a brand is tied directly—and increasingly—to their respect for the values and actions of the company.
Oxfam’s recent release of its 2016 Behind the Brands scorecard and report, Journey to Sustainable Food: A three-year update on the Behind the Brands campaign, is an important reminder of this consumer reality, our progress and the road ahead. The campaign focuses on systematic, long-term change, helping to provide a roadmap for our industry toward a more sustainable future.
Launched in 2013, Oxfam’s scorecard compares the supply chains of the top 10 food and beverage companies, highlighting issues such as land rights, climate, water and gender equality. The Coca-Cola Company ranks third overall, and has made progress across a number of themes, including water and climate, as well as land rights, where Coca-Cola leads scoring 8 out of 10.
We recognize more work needs to be done, and we are committed to improve accountability and transparency, down to the farm. Our approach to sustainable agriculture is long-term, founded on principles to protect the environment, uphold workplace rights and help build more sustainable communities.
As we implement our land rights commitment – developed after the first Behind the Brands scorecard – through our policies and country studies, we are gaining a better understanding of our sugar supply chain. We are educating our system stakeholders to help ensure that we are driving implementation of our 2020 sustainable sourcing goal. The recent publication of our Brazil sugar study and upcoming African studies in 2016 will help move us further along this journey.
As Oxfam’s report highlights, smallholder farmers are an essential component to a sustainable and productive food supply chain. It’s clear that this is an area of major improvement for the industry. Over the past year, we have been working to identify key impediments and how best to enable the approximately 750,000 smallholder farmers who contribute to Coca-Cola’s fruit ingredient supply chain (apple, orange, mango, lemon and grape). We are focused on making sustainable improvements for these fruit farmers, as well farmers for our other top agricultural ingredients (i.e. sweeteners, coffee, tea) as part of a comprehensive strategy
Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign has been an important part of this journey, enabling us to gain key insights and momentum to drive change in the food industry.
Ben Jordan is procurement director of global sustainable agriculture at The Coca-Cola Company.