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Shareholders including Oxfam press PepsiCo on land grabs

Nov. 26, 2013 at 12:23 PM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Charity organization Oxfam said it was time for PepsiCo to address land-grabbing practices of its sugar suppliers in Cambodia.

"The pressure is only increasing on PepsiCo to address the realities of its supply chain," said Judy Beals, the manager of an Oxfam initiative called the Behind the Brands Campaign.

The Phnom Penh Post reported Tuesday that two companies owned by sugar supplier Kon Kaen Sugar Co. Ltd. of Thailand were cited in an Oxfam report for evicting 456 families in a 2006 land-grab in the Koh Kong province in Cambodia.

Coca-Cola responded to the "Nothing Sweet About It" report with a pledge of a zero-tolerance toward land-grabbing tactics, the Post reported.

But two other prominent Kon Kaen customers, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods, had yet to respond to the report, the Post said.

"The company is leaving itself open to immense risks if it fails to tackle land conflicts in areas where it sources ingredients. Coca-Cola has already identified these risks and made promises to address them. The question investors should ask is: Why is PepsiCo so far behind?" Beals said.

Fourteen shareholders, including Oxfam, have filed a resolution with the company concerning land-grabs that will put the issue up for a vote at the company's next shareholders meeting next year, the newspaper said.

In addition, more than 250,000 people have signed petitions pressing PepsiCo to address the issue.

"As shareholders we want to know what PepsiCo is doing to ensure its suppliers are behaving responsibly and preventing land conflicts from undermining its reputation and operations," Beals said.

PepsiCo did not respond to a request for comments, the Post said.

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