Coca-Cola vows to work with key sugar suppliers to respect community land rights

The Coca-Cola Company vowed to cooperate with key sugar suppliers Tate & Lyle Sugars, Trapiche and Bunge after 225.000 people signed petitions as part of Oxfam's campaign to get big food and beverage firms to respect community land rights- notably in regard to sugar, which along with soy and palm oil demands the most land for direct food production- and Coke has committed to system-wide change.

TCCC pledged to perform social and environmental assessments across its supply chain starting in critical sourcing regions like Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil, India, South Africa and Thailand and also publicly reveal its biggest sugarcane suppliers.

These are COPERSUCAR (Brazil), Mitr Phol (Thailand) and Dangote (Nigeria), and Coke declared it will publish the names of all sourcing companies and suppliers within three years.

With a 25% share of the global soft drinks market, Coke is the world's largest sugar buyer - the global market as a whole was worth $47bn in 2011, and has immense clout in the sugar supply chain.

Conversely, Coke said that its palm oil and soy purchases account for less than 0.01% of global market volumes.

Coke commitments include:
1-  Adherence to the principle of "free, prior and informed consent" when acquiring land across its operations, and on behalf of suppliers.
2- The firm will immediately disclose the top three countries and supplier of sugar cane
3-  Conduct and publish third-party social, environmental and human rights assessments, starting in seven critical sourcing regions: Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, India, the Philippines, Thailand and South Africa.
4- Coke will engage with governments international bodies to support responsible land rights practices
5-  Engage with suppliers in the cases cited by Oxfam report to pursue resolutions in line with community concerns.

The IUF will have access to the information Coca-Cola will provide in terms of social, environmental and human rights assessments that will be conducted in critical sourcing regions and will yet evaluate the progress made to respect community land rights.
You can read Oxfam's report on land grabbing here and the original news of this story here.