Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oxfam shines the light on the sham of corporate sopcial responsibility

Oxfam's latest report and campaign  Behind the Brands confirms what many of us have argued for years- that corporate social responsibility is a sham; a ruse to conceal and detract attention away from the destructive practice of corporations.

Oxfam's report analyses the practices of the world's 10 most powerful food corporations and shows their destructive impact, despite the corporations deployment of the rhetroic and practice of corporate social responsibility. The report is a damning indictment of the practices of the world's major food corporations and the sham of corporate social responsibility.

The report delves below the surface of corporate responsibility rhetoric to show that the practices of the food corporations destroy not only the natural resources that support a global food system but the lives of food suppliers, employees and their customers.

Articles about the report are here, here and here.

The CEO of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking said:
"It is time the veil of secrecy shrouding this multi-billion dollar industry was lifted. Consumers have the right to know how their food has been produced and the impact this has on the world's poorest people who are growing the ingredients. The hundreds of brands lining supermarket shelves are predominantly owned by just 10 huge companies, which have combined revenues of more than $1bn a day while one-in-eight people go to bed hungry every night."
 The Oxfam Report shows that the major food corporations:
  • are overly secretive
  • rely on cheap labour
  • fail to meet their own ethical standards
  • ignore injustices occurring within their own supply chain
  • fund and support programmes that are typically tightly focused around publicly appealing issues which fail to address the root causes of hunger and poverty
  • conceal sourcing practices and routinely engage in sophisticated marketing and public relations campaigns in order to shape public opinion about food and how it is made.
  • lack adequate policies to guide their own supply chain operations.
  •  have failed to use their enormous power to create a more just system for farmers and local communities.
  • have allowed land to be unjustly seized from poor farmers and rural communities over the last decade
  • make claims of sustainability and social responsibility difficult to verify on the ground.

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