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Behind the Brands: Oxfam Reveals Global Food Firms' Gaping Ethical Shortfalls

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The world's largest food companies are failing to meet ethical standards, a report from Oxfam has warned. None of the leading global brands such as Nestle, Mars and Coca-Cola were given good overall ratings on their commitments to protect farmers, local communities and the environment, while British food giant Associated British Foods (ABF), owner of brands including Kingsmill, Ovaltine and Silverspoon, received the lowest rating.

The charity's Behind the Brands report compiled a scorecard, rating the "big 10" food companies in seven categories: the transparency of their supply chains and operations, how they ensure the rights of workers, how they protect women's rights, the management of water and land use, their policies to reduce the impacts of climate change and how they ensure the rights of the farmers who grow their ingredients.

The company with the lowest score - just 13 out of 70 - was ABF. It scored just one mark out of 10 in its treatment of land, women and climate change, while the highest scores it managed to achieve was three out of 10, in relation to workers and transparency.

In joint second-lowest place were Kellogg's and General Mills, which owns Old El Paso, Haagen-Dazs and Nature Valley, with both scoring 16 out of 70.

Oxfam said neither ABF nor Kellogg's had addressed land rights concerns, or the poverty and lack of opportunity for women working in the supply chain, while the latter company and General Mills showed a lack of transparency in where they sourced their ingredients, only providing information on where they get their palm oil. The company which achieved the highest score was Nestle, with 38 marks.


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