More and more, diet sodas and other calorie-conscious products are using Stevia-derived sweeteners to satisfy consumers’ sweet tooths. But the commercialisation of Stevia violates the rights of the indigenous people who have grown the natural sweetener for centuries.
The Guaraní are an impoverished community straddling the Paraguay and Brazil border and have long made use of the unique sweetening properties of Stevia leaves. But as companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo get their hands on the natural sweetener, the Guaraní, and the governments of Paraguay and Brazil, are being left empty-handed.
International conventions state that holders of traditional knowledge have a right to benefit from the knowledge that they have developed, protecting indigenous communities from what’s known as biopiracy. But while Guaraní tradition is the foundation for the use of Stevia-based sweeteners by multinational brands, they aren’t receiving a dime.
Demand that Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestlé, Danone, and other Stevia-users commit to mediated engagement with the Guaraní to agree on how to share the benefits of Stevia-based products fairly.
These same multinationals are also relying on misleading advertising to capitalise on the natural connotations of the Stevia plant. Coke and Pepsi regularly tout Stevia-based sweeteners as “natural,” which is a stretch: steviol glycosides -- the sweeteners they use -- are a chemically different and industrially-produced derivative of Stevia leaves.
For too long, the public has remained ignorant of the bitter truths of Stevia-based sweeteners. But thanks to a massive report from our campaign partners at France Libertés, that’s about to change. Now, it’s time for us to come together and demand that the brands profiting from Guaraní knowledge pay their due.
Sign the petition to tell Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé, and Danone to settle with the Guaraní how to share the benefits of Stevia-based products fairly.