Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Behind the Brands

The following website is well worth a visit …

Oxfam have developed an innovative website that creates the possibility of linking brands (produced by the ten largest food companies) with information (or the lack thereof) on the social and environmental conditions under which these products are produced.  In particular, the evaluation presented focuses on issues of: land tenure; treatment of women workers; farmer relationships; workers in general; climate change issues; transparency and sensitivity to water concerns.  This site, therefore, creates an engaging resource for teaching on a wide array of topics such as: counter accounts and/or shadow accounts; sustainable consumption issues; product lifecycle assessment; multi-criteria analysis of sustainable development … and many other topics.  It is especially engaging as the focus on brands means that the links between (students – and our) personal choices and impacts are drawn closer.  Likewise (and with every evaluation technology), deconstructing how this account of brands is made up is valuable in itself.  If you have not seen it, take a look.

Jan Bebbington and Shona Russell

1 comment:

  1. I personally disagree that shaming on the basis of very little information is the way to teach and to engage with students. I have looked a few of them and when I read "Starting to improve but not yet a pretty picture. Coca-Cola has some way to go before fully understanding land issues and how to respect land rights in the 21st century.", I unfortunately having very little information on what is Coca Cola to shame for, and what Oxfam would have expected to be right. I would expect, to the least, links to the information from the company, and a detailed outlook of what is considered good policy, and maybe media input on issues relevant to the company, that that company would have hidden from the public eye. When shaming, its also good to show brands that actually do respect the expected Oxfam guidelines, so that people can actually buy something else than those 10 MNEs' brands. When I show shadow accounts to students, I go back to the BP example, which is very detailed and explicit about numbers, and facts that are in BP's documents and those that are not and have been released via other media. a much better example, according to me, for students to understand accountability and transparency.