Friday, November 22, 2013

New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps Volunteers Urge Pepsi to Stop Land Grabs

Jasmine McBeath, Amanda Dezan, Sr. Joan Brown, Kathy Chavez
Oxfam is in the midst of a sweet campaign, and the New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps volunteers are taking part in a big way. The campaign, entitled Behind the Brands, is about corporate social responsibility and fair treatment for farmers and landholders in countries around the world.

Sugarcane is an important example. "As global demand for sugar increases, so does the rush for land to grow it. Around the world poor farmers are being kicked off their land to grow sugar, leaving them hungry and homeless," said Oxfam.

That's why the organization is holding Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Associated British Foods and dozens of other compannies accountable. And that's why local volunteers from New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps recently went to the local Pepsi facility to hold a yellow sign that said Caution: Ingredients May Cause Land Grabs on one side and has a Pepsi bottle on the back with the names of people  who signed a petition to Pepsi  The petitions were then delivered to people inside.

So how much difference does it make for a handful of volunteers in Albuquerque to deliver petitions to a small bottling plant?  Here's what Oxfam says: "Know that you are part of a larger campaign where 250,000 people have signed the petition to tell Coke, Pepsi and ABF to keep farmers on their land."

Coke has already agreed to work with Oxfam. "Yay!!!, says New Mexico Oxfam leader Jasmine McBeath, "so now we're putting the pressure on Pepsi!"

Beyond Sugarcane
 But this campaign is more than just about sugarcane, as corporations are depriving people around the world from many other resources.

 "In Pakistan, rural c ommunities say Nestlé is bottling and selling valuable groundwater near villages that can‟t afford clean water. In 2009, Kraft was accused of purchasing beef from Brazilian suppliers linked to cutting down trees in the Amazon rain forest in order to graze cattle.And today, Coca - Cola is facing allegations of child labor in its supply chain in the Philippines. Sadly, these charges are not anomalies. For more than 100 years, the world's most powerful food and beverage companies have relied on cheap land and labor to produce inexpensive products and huge profits. But these profits have often come at the cost of the environment and local communities around the world, and have contributed to a food system in crisis."  Oxfam tells you more in a briefing paper.  

How to Get Involved
Find out how prominent companies rate in their dealings with small farmers and rural communities. Oxfam 
"Use Facebook and Twitter to nudge your favourite brands. Contact the CEO personally and tell them what needs to change. We’ll be constantly updating the scorecard so you can see the impact you’re having."
In Albuquerque, contact Jasmine McBeath or Kathy Chavez if you want to link to local activities. (

Click here to find out how to connect with Oxfam Action Corps volunteers in other communities who are working on the Behind the Brands campaign or contact Oxfam America staff.

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