Behind the Brands

Ask anybody to name some of the biggest food and beverage companies and I am sure the first two that pop into their heads are Nestle and Coca-Cola. Some more switched on people might also think of Keloggs and Pepsico.

Ask those same people who the “worst” company is and they will most likely confidently answer “Nestle”. Nestle gets named and shamed constantly, but did you know that out of 10 of the biggest food and beverage companies they actually rank number 1 when it comes to their policies.

I was surprised at first, but when you think about it Nestle have been in the media spotlight for at least 5 years. So they have had to lift their game!

Oxfam International have launched a new campaign called Behind the Brands. It is a fantastic campaign that I think will bring about real change in these companies. Each brand is ranked according to their policies in terms of land, women, farmers, workers, climate, transparency and water.

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Already responses from Mars and Nestle have come trickling in, confirming they have understood the issues presented and want to work in a partnership with Oxfam.

Mars responded formally,

“Inclusive community development is a fundamental pillar of our Vision for Change initiative in Côte d’Ivoire, and we have been encouraged to see many women step up to lead to lead their communities in organizing local development projects as well as to start new businesses to provide a higher quality of life to their families and neighbours.” 

While Nestle is responding to the tweets they have been receiving,

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Imagine the difference it will make to people living in developing countries if these big brands start putting their workers first. I know it makes me smile from ear to ear!

It is time we reminded these companies that we are the consumers, and it is our decision what we buy. Let’s face it at the end of the day they can’t be big brands if they don’t have any consumers, can they?

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OxfamUWA at O’day

This year was my second O’day for OxfamUWA. Last year wasn’t as successful as we hoped to be so this year we wanted to kick butt!

Our goal was 100 sign ups, 15 of which were actually keen to become involved. We reached our goal by about 12pm and high fives were shared all around. Could we reach 150 by the end of the day? 

OxfamUWA members at O’day

We passed 150 and ended up with 195 sign ups, which is just incredible! I think James in a banana suit helped draw the crowds, and maybe we just looked like really awesome people you want in your life.

2012 was such an amazing year and I am so excited for 2013! Our brains are already working overtime planning what we are going to do. We met some amazing people today who are super keen to join the Oxfamily, and our family is the best kind of family

 

Do you want to be a Global Citizen?

Do you often get frustrated at how little you can do in your life to help others all around the globe? If the answer to that is yes, then this is the platform for you!

Global Citizen is a web and mobile platform that allows you to take action from anywhere in the world at anytime.

With a touch of a button you can learn about issues from all over the world. You can show your support of an issue by signing a petition. You can start a conversation with like minded people.

“We use Global Citizen to learn more about issues, so we can take effective action for change and find opportunities to support campaigns and organisations creating sustainable change. Right now Global Citizen is in launch phase, but in coming weeks and months it will feature new issues, with the latest information and action opportunities, so you can take effective action for change.”

Every action you take you earn points, when you have received enough points you can get rewards. These rewards will help increase the impact you have on the world. For example by blogging about the video below, I have earned one point.

Water Scarcity Video

It is a fun and easy way for people from all of the world to engage with issues that face those living in extreme poverty. I encourage you to check out the website and educate yourself about a variety of issues that people are faced with worldwide. http://www.globalcitizen.org

Together we can end extreme poverty, so what are you waiting for?

We need an International Arms Treaty

Did you know that 1,500 people die a day due to unregulated arms laws?

That 60% of human rights abuses have involved the use of Arms and light weapons?

That bananas have more regulations then guns?

These facts make me feel uneasy. Reading them I once again find myself being incredibly thankful that I live in Australia. However I am relieved to find out I am not the only one who thinks this is unacceptable. Thousands of people have campaigned over the last 10 years for better international arms laws.

Today I joined the thousands of people that have campaigned, in a public stunt aimed at the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. It involved 20 people wearing white shirts with bullet holes either holding tombstones or being dead on a red backdrop. We all represented the 1,500 people killed every day as a result of arms. The stunt got quite a bit of media attention, which is what was intended.

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I joined the cause because I am horrified by the damage unregulated arms causes worldwide. I am shocked  at the ways armed violence undermines the Millennium Development Goals. I am in disbelief at how much is spent on arms worldwide each year, estimated at $1.6 trillion. Most importantly I want to help make a difference to the millions of people that have been harmed by armed conflict.

Next march governments of the UN will gather to hopefully agree on an international arms treaty. I hope they listen to what we have all been campaigning for and help move the world forward away from unregulated armed conflict.

More information on the International Arms can be found here:

http://controlarms.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Global-Principles-for-the-ATT-Global-rules-for-a-global-trade.pdf

https://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/emergencies/control-arms/

You find generosity in unlikely places!

OxfamUWA is currently in the process of planning an amazing event which will take place on the 8th of August. We have been trying to collect prizes which we will use in a silent auction, raffles and spot prizes throughout the night. One of the people I asked was Ash Grunwald a favourite artist of mine.

I was amazed with his generosity when I picked up the donation on Sunday night at the Fly By. Ash donated 5 of his CD’s – 4 of which are signed, 4 shirts and a signed vinyl – all of which came to a retail price of $200. I was absolutely gobsmacked. He is such an amazing performer and has a lot of respect for his fans – even when one of them pulls him onto the ground mid song! I have gone to 6 of his gigs, and every single one Ash hangs around to do signings and take unlimited photos.

Ash is just one example of the generosity we have encountered, and I can not thank him enough! Frankie magazine, Cake BDC, Best of British and Bodkins Bootery are just some of the other places that have made a donation. It is refreshing to see how many different people and business’ care about worldwide issues.

When asking for prizes for a fundraising event it is amazing how many people are willing to be involved. We have contacted people through Facebook, email and face-to-face and have had great responses from all. The best tip I can offer is:

Ask anyone and everyone

Do not be afraid of people saying no to you, most of the time you will be surprised by how enthaustic they are to help! We have got donations from places we assumed would say no – so don’t make assumptions! I am over the moon with how generous everyone has been so far, and can’t wait to see what we find next!

The Quad Squad are coming!

In 2010 three amazing men started a journey that would take them from Istanbul  to Sydney on quad bikes.

The quad squad travelled across 3 countries; driving 60,000km with the aim to raise $100,000 for Oxfam Australia’s development work in Africa.

They achieved this phenomenal journey in 12 months, and broke the Guinness World Record for the longest journey on a quad bike.  Along the way the three men: Valerio de Simoni, James Kenyon and Kristopher Davant shared their journey with supporters through a blog. 

They embarked on this journey to challenge the state of inequality and injustice that is present in our world. They strongly believe that people living in poverty can change their lives and can escape the poverty cycle.  Simoni, Kenyon and Davant made the journey in order to join the fight against global poverty by raising awareness in Australia and around the world.

The quad squad hoped that their journey would inspire others, something that they defiantly did. These men learnt a lot along their journey and are an inspiration to many. We are luckily enough to have the opportunity to hear these men share some of their stories and be inspired by what they have achieved.

On the 10th of June come to the Claremont Bowls club to enjoy a game of bowls, a sausage sizzle and be inspired by what these men have to share. Tickets are $10 from http://www.trybooking.com/BKWL or $15 at the door.

This is an event not to be missed so make sure you make it! For more information head to: https://www.facebook.com/events/353227358072058/,

Living below the Line

This year was my second year participating in Live below the Line and this year my boyfriend and I took it to the extreme.

Not only were we living on $2 a day for food we slept in a tent, with no pillows or a mattress. We cooked and ate outside, without cutlery. We didn’t shower for the 5 days.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIFY5kxaTKk&feature=plcp

Why?

Because we wanted to push ourselves further than just eating $2 a day. We wanted to try and grasp how 1.4 billion people live. It wasn’t an easy week but it was an amazing week.

We made a vlog each day to share what we ate during that day, what challenges we faced and how we were feeling. It is an experience that everyone should take, it makes you value what we have  and it gives you an more concrete understanding of what it is like to live in poverty.

Extreme poverty is an issue I am extremely passionate about; I believe no one should have to go to bed hungry each night. I want to see extreme poverty eradicated in my lifetime, and it is achievable.  We need to show the 1.4 billion people that we care, that we understand and we want to help. Education is such a powerful tool (and something we take for granted in Australia) and it is education that can bring about this change. Education helps people lift themselves out of poverty, it empowers them and it makes themselves responsible for their own future.

Through education men and women can start their own subsistence farms, they can participate in Fair Trade and they can have a voice. Our generation has shown time and time again that we are passionate and that we will fight for what we believe in.  When we all unite we are a force to be reckoned with! Through organisations like Oxfam Australia and Oaktree we are given the opportunity to help fight for what we believe in and we can see the impact we are having on lives all of the world.

So next year do Live below the Line yourself, sign up to volunteer for a NGO and start standing up for what you believe in. It is never to late to start something you are passionate about.

James and I were blown away with how supportive and generous all our friends and families were. We raised $2790 which will go directly towards educating some of Papua New Guinea’s poorest people.

If you would like to check out some more of our vlogs, or donate head to: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/team/oxfamuwa

Kathryn

The Future I Want.

I have never written a blog before. I never thought I would. However I find myself wanting a place where I can rant about my views of the world. That is why I have decided to create this blog.

I have entered a competition and I would love it if you could vote for it. The winner gets to go to the Earth Summit in Rio and present to the UN Leaders. It is an honour I would love to receive and I am very passionate about the issues mentioned in my video. Anyway watch the video, vote for it if you like it.

http://datewithhistory.com/#!/media/aosgcy

I want a future where no one goes to bed hungry each night, where every person has the right to go to school and where there is no first world or third world, just a world. The future that I want is achievable in my lifetime, whether we achieve it or not, well that is up to you.

Kathryn  x Continue reading