Firms are given a score out of 10 on seven indicators including climate, land and water. Unilever topped the list thanks to its top scores on climate and its treatment of workers and farmers.

In January, Unilever achieved its goal of zero-waste-to-landfill across its global manufacturing centres, while it is also involved in collaboration with second-placed Nestle to improve the recyclability of crisp and chocolate packaging.

Beverage behemoths

Soft-drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi took the third and fourth spots respectively, despite both receiving criticism from activists in the last year  Pepsi’s Doritos brand in particular. However, water stewardship programmes saw Coca-Cola on track to be water-neutral by 2020, while Pepsi saved 14bn litres of water across its operations in 2014.


Kelloggs, Danone, General Mills and Associated British Foods (ABF) all achieved less than half of Unilever’s score.

“It is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Oxfam in an accompanying blog. “One area that seems to be a major weak spot for the majority of the 10 companies is the lack of investment and support to farmers in their supply chain, with half of the Big 10 barely scoring a 2/10 on the farmers theme.

“That combined with growing climate change impacts affects not only the farmers, but the companies themselves. It’s a lose/lose situation as it stands now.”

Confectionary corporate

Mars finished fifth in the table, scoring well in the ‘climate’ category. In February it sponsored a report from the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership, which pledged to protect the UK diminishing natural capital.

Mars also has plans to source 12% of its energy from a wind farm in Texas.


Oxfam also argued that the Big 10 would have to interact with their supply chains to enable long-term sustainability gains rather than short term fixes

“Multinational companies may not necessarily be best-placed to deliver the changes that need to happen on the ground,” said Oxfam. “However, they are in a key position to engage, empower and influence others.”

For example, Mars, Mondelez and Nestle collectively source nearly 30% of the world’s cocoa, while Coca-Cola is the world’s largest buyer of sugar and controls 25% of the global soft drinks markets, followed closely by PepsiCo with 18%.”

Battle of the Brands rankings:

Brad Allen

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