Unilever has come top of a ‘scorecard’ which rates the agricultural sourcing policies of the top 10 international food and drink companies.
Oxfam’s ‘Behind the Brands’ assesses the companies’ policies and commitments to improve food security and sustainability. It looks at how well they perform on issues relating to transparency, women, workers, farmers, land, water, and climate.
In a comparison of improvements made by the 10 firms between October 2014 and March 2015, Unilever narrowly beat Nestlé to the top rating, although both scored well on all criteria, Oxfam said.
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, chief supply chain officer at Unilever, said: “We are committed to promoting human rights across our supply chain. I am delighted this has been recognised by Oxfam.
"However, we are under no illusion about the scale of the challenge that remains and recognise where improvements can be made. One area of focus this year will be on empowering women in our supply chain. We will continue to drive change across our business and industry and call on others to do the same."
Nestlé beat Coca-Cola, scoring more highly on climate change, transparency, farmers and water.
Associated British Foods (ABF) and Danone were the lowest scoring, although ABF’s scores on gender, transparency and water put it in last place.
Other brands on the scorecard include General Mills, Kellogg's, Mondelez International, Mars and Pepsico.
All firms except Danone and Coca Cola have improved their overall scores since last February.
However, Oxfam said a major weak spot for the majority of the 10 companies was the lack of investment and support to farmers in their supply chain.
Monique van Zijl, international campaign manager for Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign, said: “Extreme weather patterns are on the rise and destroy farmers’ livelihoods across the world. Now more than ever companies must take responsibility to support workers and farmers in their supply chain to adapt to climate change.”
Behind the brands scorecard - March 2015
1. Unilever - 71 per cent
2. Nestlé - 69 per cent
3. Coca-Cola - 54 per cent
4. Pepsico - 43 per cent
5. Mars - 40 per cent
6. Mondelez International - 37 per cent
7. Kellogg's - 34 per cent
8. Danone - 31 per cent
9. General Mills - 31 per cent
10. Associated British Foods - 30 per cent