The Oxfam "Behind the brands" report demonstrates that the worldwide sugar production requires 31 million hectares, leading to a lot of land theft in developing countries. As Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are among the largest sugar buyers, Oxfam believes both soda producers are also to blame for the land theft.
"Investigate where the sugar comes from"
Oxfam’s report was published as part of the Belgian Fair Trade Week, during which the company hopes to bring malpractices to light and possibly halt them. "We have discovered that companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods are using land in developing countries, bought through intermediary companies”, states campaign manager Bert Dhondt in a Belgian radio show.
"The land belongs to local communities that have been chased off the land. We want these soda manufacturers to better investigate where their sugar comes from exactly and to be transparent about it.”
"Utmost respect for rights"
Coca-Cola immediately denied any ties to possible land theft: “We categorically deny any accusation stating that we are directly involved in land theft”, Coca-Cola Belux’ Aurélie Gerth told deredactie.be. "Coca-Cola has the utmost respect for the rights of all communities and populations and strives to guarantee the highest level of responsibility throughout our entire supply chain."
Coca-Cola revealed that it had already proposed a plan to Oxfam with concrete steps to prevent land theft, “including a higher level of transparancy in regards to the supply chain”.