Wednesday, August 20, 2014

General Mills and Kellogg Win!


 Thanks to consumers like you, the food giants Kellogg and General Mills will make important new commitments to help stop climate change from making people hungry.

In late July, General Mills committed to setting targets to reduce emissions, participate in real climate advocacy, and become a true climate leader. On August 12, Kellogg followed suit and became the second global food giant in one month to commit to bold new steps to fight climate change and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

 General Mills has pledged to:
  1. “Know and show” by disclosing their emissions as well as their suppliers of sugar cane and palm oil.
  2. Set emissions reductions targets by 2015 and put in place stronger safeguards against deforestation.
  3. Advocate by taking a leadership role in addressing climate change with businesses and governments.

 While Kellogg specifies that, for the first time, the company will set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to agricultural production. It will also join a leading coalition of businesses committed to working with lawmakers to pass meaningful climate and energy legislation.

Read here for the Kellogg Press Release and here to learn more about General Mills' new company commitments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oxfam Action Corps NYC Summer Retreat


Nestled in a cozy studio room at the Producers’ Club in Hell’s Kitchen, co-organizers Liz Tillman and Jennifer Viechweg-Horsford educated volunteers old and new on the current campaigns of Oxfam America, the most recent one being our Behind the Brands initiatives. From company score cards to examining recent actions, the Action Corps learned the truth about the nation’s Big Ten companies and how the initiative works towards holding corporations accountable for their supply chain practices. 


The Action Corps also tried out some tabling and petitioning exercises, as well as shared helpful tips for volunteers when working at events. The speed dating game involved practicing “pitches” to potential supporters, which helped in instilling confidence and further inspired volunteers to familiarize themselves with current campaigns. 

A presentation by Elizabeth Norman on lobbying proved to be a useful resource with the upcoming August Congressional Recess. Elizabeth enlightened volunteers with the important five steps to lobbying: “Prepare, Connect, Educate, Ask and Follow up.” In addition to these steps, building relationships with local members of Congress was a tip that Elizabeth heavily emphasized.


The volunteers were also presented with social media tips from Oxfam America intern, Kaoru Inoue. From establishing connections with followers online to further exposing posts to a wider audience, the Action Corps were encouraged to provide consistent and creative posts using mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and Vine in order to reach a diverse group. 


On Day 2 of the retreat, the group met in the quiet neighborhood of Ridgewood in Queens. Oxfam Action Corps NYC volunteer and National Peer Advisor, Isaac Evans-Frantz discussed the important actions taking place during the August Recess which gave the volunteers a sense of encouragement and determination. 

Beyond the recess, Jennifer encouraged the Action Corps to start organizing for the Sept. 21st, People’s Climate March which will be held in New York City. A truly important and historic movement, this march is expected to have participants in the hundreds—all calling for world leaders to step up and take action as climate change continues to worsen.

Congratulations to Action Corps NYC for a successful summer retreat and we wish you the best of luck for your upcoming actions! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Day of Action : Success, Success!


On July 8, our Day of Action for Behind the Brands GROW campaign was observed by our Oxfam Action Corps groups from New York City to Seattle. Throughout the day, all fifteen cities made noise to call for effecient and responsible food production of the Big Ten companies:

Nestle
PepsiCo
Unilever
Mondelez
Coca-Cola
Mars
Danone
Associated British Foods (ABF)
General Mills
Kellogg’s

Check out the exciting photos we received from our teams in NYC and Boston!




 
Thank you to everyone who participated and remember, every day can be YOUR day of action. Use your power as a consumer and tell the Big Ten companies to change now.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Storming Social Media to Help Stop Climate Change

Climate change may be the single biggest threat to the fight against hunger, and the companies that produce popular brands are also adding to the problem. So Oxfam supporters took to grocery aisles, public squares, and corporate facilities as part of the Oxfam's Behind the Brands Imitative to urge Kellogg's and General Mills to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain.


Starting on May 20th, members of the Oxfam Action Corps along with people across the nation took a stand handing out mocked up cereal boxes and taking pictures at branded locations to show that people across the nation are fed up with climate change. Elsewhere Oxfam staff and volunteers staged social media stunts at corporate headquarters and industry expos. Then on June 5th, we began a social media blitz.  


To join us in taking action, visit www.behindthebrands.org, sign the petition and begin sharing Facebook and Twitter posts!


Diana has her angry face on, she wants change! 
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the Action Corps who did a fantastic job of posting and sharing pictures and slogans across Facebook and Twitter.

Wisconsin families care too! 



"Let me take a selfie to ask General Mills to end
climate change and hunger" - Kathy Chavez





Seattle volunteer (aka Tony the Tiger) at his
local supermarket. 

Supporters are posting pictures like these directly on the Kellogg's and General Mills' sites like Pillsbury Doughboy and Frosted Flakes and using their Twitter handles @GeneralMills and @KelloggsUS. We know that Kellogg's and General Mills are now getting the message from us globally, but we need to increase the volume in calling to them and use our power and influence to protect the future of our food from the impact of climate change.


Iowa Action Corps raising awareness
in their local supermarket 


Pics tweeted with #BehindTheBrands


Kansas City volunteers outside a General
Mills facility

Now that we've set the internet abuzz, the push does not stop here. Oxfam wants the world to continue to advocate for climate change and ensure companies follow through on making policy reforms they need to hear your voices.


THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO IS TAKING PART IN THIS SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTION! 


New Yorkers telling Kellogg and General Mills
'Help Stop Climate Change'


Screen shot of a great Twitter post from
the Oxfam America account
Posted by Daisy Kendrick 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Climate Spike SUCCESS!

Awesome job and a big CONGRATS to all the Oxfam Action Corps who took action for our campaign spike Tuesday! If you haven't heard, that day, May 20, marked a big push for our activism regarding climate change, and how the Big Ten food and beverage companies are contributing to it. We specifically targeted the two companies who rank lowest on our scorecard for climate, Kellogg and General Mills. All across the country, volunteers and staff took action to spread the word, which in turn sparked actions from over 17,000 people on this one day! 

The objective was to raise awareness among consumers, but also to send a strong message to these two companies to shape up their climate policies. We did this by taking pictures in front of the brands, engaging with the public on the street, handing out mini cereal boxes with a twist (see pictures below) and collecting petition signatures. Additionally eight of our Action Corps teams visited facilities to deliver a report that addresses why food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change. You can read the full report here.

Altered labels to send our message to consumers!

Kansas City Action Corps volunteers

Des Moines Action Corps volunteer at facility in Iowa

Burlington Action Corps volunteers

Other GRRRREAT! activity from May 20 happened in Chicago, where there was a "Sweets and Snacks" expo with attendees from all the major players in the food and beverage industry, including General Mills and Kellogg! Our incredible staff both from Boston and Chicago, along with Action Corps volunteers, dressed up as famous mascot characters from the brands, and stood outside. Here is the result:

Staff and volunteers dressed as mascots in front of expo

"Breakfast of the Future" stunt in Lake Michigan

Our team in Chicago made great contact with the companies, as well as local allies. This stunt in particular had a huge presence on social media, along with all the other great posts from allies and Action Corps. As far as general media, Oxfam had a presence in over 35 news stories, including mentions in Time, Reuters, Financial Times, Huffington Post, and Al Jazeera America. In addition, Oxfam’s President Ray Offenheiser and a few other Oxfam staff held airtime on various TV networks, advocating for these issues and our campaign.

And the work doesn’t stop here! We will continue to advocate for climate change and work with these companies to ensure they follow through on making reforms. To get in on the action, make sure you have visited behindthebrands.org to sign the petition, and help out with social media activity! Follow the Oxfam America national blog for updates on news and reporting on the companies’ progress. Thank you again to ALL the help from Action Corps across the country! This was a momentous day

Monday, May 12, 2014

Climate change: things are heating up

Read this incredible first-person perspective of climate change from an Action Corps volunteer in Des Moines! (Originally posted on May 11 at http://iowansforoxfam.blogspot.com/2014/05/climate-change-things-are-heating-up.html)

Privilege is often not intuitive to the privileged. Yet, I am fortunate to be aware of my privilege. For example, when I’m thirsty, I walk about 10 feet to my kitchen sink where miles of underground water pipes bring me fresh, clean, and treated water from my municipality. I pay for it, of course. But I’m also privileged to have grown up in a developed country where I had access to education so that I could one day have a job that allows me to pay my monthly water bill. Billions of people worldwide have lived their entire lives in a state of water scarcity – they have never had access like I’ve had access. I am privileged to have never gone a full day in my life where my water source (and thusly, my life or my livelihood) was at risk or not knowing when/where my next drink of that delicious H20 would come from.



And yet, I get the feeling like there’s a change coming. A quick online search displays a dizzying array of recent articles on climate change – most of them attributable to the “buzz” created around the White House’s release of the U.S. National Climate Assessment last week. This report paints a very serious picture of what a United States of America could look like when grappling with some of more terrible effects of climate change. The report “highlights” 12 major areas of impact – one of which is our water supply. Just a few snippets from the report:
                “Short-term (seasonal or shorter) droughts are expected to intensify in most U.S. regions. Longer-term droughts are expected to intensify in large areas of the Southwest, southern Great Plains, and Southeast.” (pg. 42)
                “The annual maximum number of consecutive dry days (less than 0.01 inches of rain) is projected to increase, especially in the western and southern part of the nation, negatively affecting crop and animal production.” (pg. 47)
                “Increased warming, drought, and insect outbreaks, all caused by or linked to climate change, have increased wildfires and impacts to people and ecosystems in the Southwest.” (pg. 78)
It’s a very sobering reality that we, as a species, expect to face these hardships in coming years. Worse yet, these are the impacts to a developed country that has the infrastructure to respond and counteract (at least, temporarily) to crisis. What about developing nations? What about the countries that have already faced years of drought or floods? What about the hardships that poor communities face – those who are one negative natural event (maybe even a minor one) away from the complete loss of their way of life.
Climate change is real. And it's devastating to people and communities all across the globe. Worst of all, it hits poor communities first and with a greater severity. They lack the resources and education to properly adapt to a changing climate. That’s where Oxfam steps in – helping to provide those tools with the ultimate goal of empowerment. There’s this great story of a gardener in the Philippines named Josephine Alad-Ad. She’s had to adapt to severely unpredictable weather events (floods, droughts, landslides) and with the help of Oxfam’s Climate Resiliency Field Schools, she’s been able to do that – altering what she grows so the crops require less water and how she grows it so more water is conserved. It’s yet another way that Oxfam works to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice.

Friday, May 9, 2014

We're built on your ideas

In the summer of 2013 we convened an Advisory Group of volunteers and our trained organizers, both current and 'alumni.'  Together we assessed the Oxfam Action Corps program and suggested ways to strengthen it.  This brief slide show gives an update on how that process has shaped our progress this year and will continue to do so.




Many thanks to those of you who have served as organizers and advisors.  We look forward to continuing to brainstorm and learn together in the near future!

Brian