Today Chicago is holding a special election for the 2nd Congressional District. This unique constituency stretches from southern Chicago to Kankakee. In a recent debate on February 12th in Kankakee, seven candidates discussed how they would help improve the area. It was not surprising when they discussed agriculture and the need for continued support for farmers, especially in the areas of Kankakee. Government policy makers and Congressional representatives are crucial to the process of change. We understand that change requires a strategic bimodal approach via government and corporations. Oxfam has made continuous legislative efforts to support better agricultural practices both at home and abroad. After the constant disappointments with the Congress in years past, you are frustrated, and we’re frustrated. Because change is proving to be slow.
How can we get things changing? 1.4 billion people are overweight yet 900 million people are starving. About one third of our food is wasted, but mothers are forced to choose between medicines and food and education. Our crops have been reduced and our food sources changing because corporations are buying public property at an increasing rate. Is anyone noticing? What about the people with a lot of buying power and media power?
After 18 months of careful research and consideration in the approach to improve corporate practices, Oxfam is now introducing BEHIND THE BRANDS. As an extension of the GROW campaign, this initiative allows consumers to empower themselves with information on practices by companies who make their favorite treats. Oxfam uses 7 different scoring areas to rank the companies against themselves. These themes that encompass social, environmental and economic issues are:
- Women and gender equality policies
- Ethical Treatment to supply chain workers
- Small scale farmers growing commodities
- Climate and gas emissions
Let’s start a race to the top. Let’s encourage large corporations that are stealing water, land and abusing corporate power by paying people unfairly sprint to be better companies! Corporations move fast in response to consumer power and education. When you say something, they listen. Seriously. Tweet about what you expect from the companies you buy from. Update your Facebook status to make people aware about the unfair practices of many companies. Sign the petition to make cocoa-farming practices better. NPR, BBC News, Huffington Post, Bloomberg TV, and more media sources have been covering Behind the Brands. The companies have been responding! Show them you are passionate about supporting farmers and they will listen.
Find your favorite brands on the website Behind the Brands. How does your company stack up on the Oxfam scorecard?