The 10 biggest food companies in the world employ millions of people in poor countries to grow and produce their products. They have massive global reach and influence. And with enough pressure from consumers like you and me, they could make a powerful difference in reducing poverty, hunger and inequality.
Oxfam's new initiative, Behind the Brands
, ranks the policies of these big companies on important issues like transparency, equality for women, treatment of farmers, land, clean water, sustainability and climate change.
We're starting out by asking the world's biggest cocoa buyers – Mars, Mondelez, and Nestlé, who make products like M&Ms, Oreos, and Crunch – to demand that they make equality for women cocoa farmers a priority. When it comes to women, these companies all score a 4 or lower on our Brand Scorecard, because:
- Most cocoa farmers and workers live below the poverty line, and many earn less than $2 a day.
- Less than 5% of the price of a typical chocolate bar goes back to cocoa farmers.
- In West Africa, where most of the world's cocoa comes from, women do nearly half of the labor on cocoa farms but own just a quarter of the land.
- Women working on cocoa farms have fewer economic opportunities and, as workers, typically earn less than men. Just one example: in Nigeria, farmers told our researchers that women are paid $2-3 for a day's work, while men earn around $7 per day.
The women who grow, pick, pack and sell the cocoa that Mars, Mondelez, and Nestlé put in their products deserve better: better pay, fair treatment, opportunities for training, the chance to own the land they work, and more. It all starts with consumers like you raising your voice.
On International Women's Day - March 8th - we will launch this action to take a stand for women who work on cocoa farms, and those facing inequalities around the world. Together, we can change the way these companies do business – and give people in poverty the tools they need to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive.