Last week Oxfam @ Queen’s hosted an advocacy event at the corner of U&U to raise awareness about Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign, collect signatures for a petition, and most importantly: give out chocolate! (It wouldn’t be a Food Security campaign event without some delicious eats!)
For those that don’t know, Behind the Brands is a global Oxfam campaign that challenges the ten biggest global food brands to improve their business practices relating to seven issues.
The brands: Nestle, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Danone, Mars, PepsiCo, Mondalēz, General Mills, Kelloggs, and Associated British Foods.
The issues: land, women, farmers, workers, climate, transparency, and water.
The latest Behind the Brands campaign focuses on land grabs and sugar. Specifically, Oxfam is asking Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and ABF to make sure that the sugar they buy doesn’t lead to land grabs. In order to apply positive pressure to the three biggest sugar-buyers in the world, Oxfam has been collecting signatures over the past month-and-a-half, with a goal of 275 000 signatures. With 251 850 signatures so far, the petition is generating waves in the industry. Coca-Cola has already committed to a zero-tolerance policy for land grabs!
We had a goal of collecting 200 signatures in four hours, and surpassed that goal with 209 signatures! Exceeding our goal was impressive, but we were even happier with the conversations that we had with the students who took the time to sign the petition. You tend to get a lot of blank looks when you talk about an issue like land grabs, but people were genuinely interested in learning more about the topic. We got a lot of great questions about the campaign, land rights, and Oxfam!
Thank you to all the volunteers who braved the wind and cold and came out to hold a poster, give out chocolate, or collect signatures for the petition. Your enthusiasm made the day go by faster!
For more information about Oxfam and Behind the Brands, visit http://www.behindthebrands.org. And sign the petition if you haven’t already done so!
– Hannah Shirtliff