‘Behind the Brands’

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Oxfam international have launched a new campaign highlighting the social and environmental impact of the top ten major food and drinks brands. They have set up a interactive website where you can check the performance of the companies on issues of land, water, workers, farmers, climate, women and transparency. Many of the products are staples in Ireland, coming from companies and brands like Cadburys, Kelloggs, Coca-Cola and Nestle. It is quite surprising how poorly they all fare, with only one company scoring higher than 50% overall. Oxfam have set up an online petition and plan on making this a long-term campaign.

Consumer action can be powerful, but requires a concerted effort against the power of brands, advertising and cheap prices. In their position paper, Oxfam concluded that changes in technology and consumer behaviour now mean that “companies are increasingly vulnerable to consumer opinion and must respond to consumer pressure faster than ever”. The campaign will certainly make those who are aware of it think twice before buying.

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