Do failing grades inspire more effort? Oxfam hopes so. The activist group on behalf of the poor has just handed out report cards to 10 of the world's top food companies, grading their commitments to protect the environment and treat people fairly.
Oxfam doesn't grade on the curve, evidently. Every company flunked. But two European-based companies, Nestle and Unilever, were at least better than the others.
Both companies have policies that are supposed to ensure that workers around the globe are treated fairly, for instance, and they're better than average at trying to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Nestle (Taster's Choice; Perrier) got especially high grades for its efforts to conserve water. Unilever (Lipton Tea; Hellman's mayonnaise) got extra credit for policies aimed at helping small farmers.
Oxfam also assigned grades for how companies protect women's rights, contribute to climate change and provide information about their suppliers.