Land rights and soda giants

Reviewing Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s land assessments in Brazil

In 2013, Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign highlighted the risks and impacts for communities’ land rights from the sourcing of sugarcane by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and other companies, and called for the companies to commit to demonstrating zero tolerance for land grabs. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo committed to showing ‘zero tolerance’ for land grabs in late 2013 and early 2014, respectively.

Oxfam has been monitoring their progress, and providing advice on how they can improve. As of early 2016, both companies have taken an important step by assessing the risks and impacts of their cane sugar sourcing on land rights in Brazil; Coca-Cola by conducting a baseline study, PepsiCo through audits. Oxfam commissioned an independent evaluation of the companies’ reports.

This briefing provides an overview of land rights risks and impacts, describes the external evaluation process, highlights a selection of the evaluator’s findings, and presents Oxfam’s recommendations to Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and all companies looking to assess and address land rights risks and impacts.

The included report written by John Wilkinson* and commissioned by Oxfam for its 'Behind the Brands' campaign, provides an independent evaluation of the land issues discussed in the third party baseline study and audits contracted respectively by The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) and PepsiCo in 2014.


* Associate Professor at the Graduate Center for Development, Agriculture and Society (CPDA), Rural Federal University, Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ)