Covalence Food and Beverage Industry Report 2007

Released on: February 13, 2008, 1:21 am

Press Release Author: Antoine Mach/ Covalence

Industry: Food & Beverage

Press Release Summary: The Food & Beverage industry is consolidating its ethical
record thanks to labour and environmental initiatives, but it has to fight hard to
demonstrate the social utility of its products

Press Release Body: Catching up the leaders

The Food & Beverage industry is progressively closing the gap with leading
industries (Pharmaceuticals, Technology Hardware, Automobiles & Parts and Banks). It
currently occupies the fifth position in the EthicalQuote reputation ranking
comparing ten industries. In 2007, Food & Beverage showed the second best
progression, just between Technology Hardware and Automobile & Parts.

In the end of 2007, Unilever shows the best EthicalQuote score calculated the Food &
Beverage industry starting in 2002, followed by Starbucks and Diageo, while
Coca-Cola and Nestl occupy the last positions. From January to December 2007
Coca-Cola, Unilever, Starbucks, PepsiCo and Nestl show the best progression, while
Archer Daniels Midland, Sara Lee and Cadbury Schweppes occupy the last positions.
Results expressing the Reported Performance of companies place Coca-Cola in first
position out of 16 Food & Beverage companies, followed by Starbucks, Nestl, and

From 2004 to 2006, the ethical progress of Food & Beverage companies has mostly been
due to social and labour initiatives: e.g. social sponsorship, community investments
and fair trade programs. In 2007, the F&B industry experienced a powerful shift
towards environmental concerns, as did most industries and society at large (climate
change). Charts show a shrinking of social and human related criteria (28. Product
Social Utility, 40. Human Rights Policy and 27. Product Human Risk) in favor of
environmental criteria (26. Environmental Impact of Production and 32. Waste
Management). Major positive environmental issues have been dealing with Water,
Packaging, Climate change and Energy.

F&B products vs basic needs

The biggest risks are linked to products. The positive impact of Food & Beverage
products is less discussed compared to what can be observed in other industries such
as Pharmaceuticals. While life-saving drugs greatly fit into corporate citizenship
programs, sodas, candies or bottled water are perceived to be further away from the
satisfaction of basic human needs. Simultaneously, their negative dimensions are
more discussed: Product safety, Obesity, Packaging, Child marketing.

The non-essential image of F&B products is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
challenge. Bottled water, candies and frozen dinners incarnate rich countries'
lifestyle. How can they match with basic social issues such as poverty, access to
water, hunger, health, hygiene, or sanitation?

Projects, partnerships, initiatives, products and corporate policies addressing the
topics of climate change, packaging, awards, women, education, water, nutrition and
obesity, fair trade, community development and advertising will continue to attract
sympathy and should be - if they have not been - communicated to the targeted

More information on Covalence Food & Beverage Industry Report 2007:

Geneva-based Covalence tracks the ethical reputation of multinationals by sourcing
information from companies, the media and civil society. For further information,
please contact us at +41 (0)22 800 08 55;

Web Site:

Contact Details: Covalence SA 1, avenue Industrielle, CH-1227 Carouge Geneva
Tel: +41 (0)22 800 08 55 ; Fax: +41 (0)22 800 08 56
US Rep Office, 20 Riverside Street, Apt. 25, Watertown MA 02472, USA, tel +(1) 617
429 4758 ; ;

  • Printer Friendly Format
  • Back to previous page...
  • Back to home page...
  • Submit your press releases...