A race to the top: how we pushed supermarkets to take human rights seriously

Radhika Sarin Influencing, Living wage, Private sector

From new gender policies to commitments on living wages, we’ve come a long way since Oxfam published its first supermarkets scorecard in 2018, when retailers lacked the understanding and appetite to do human rights due diligence, says Radhika Sarin. What does the 2022 scorecard reveal – and what more must be done?

The Food Fight Continues

Irit Tamir Food & livelihoods, Private sector

In 2013 Oxfam launched the Behind the Brands campaign which sought to influence the sourcing policies of the world’s ten biggest food and beverage companies. Over the three years, the campaign achieved a series of significant wins; catalyzing company commitments on land rights, women’s empowerment and climate change while mobilizing a significant number of supporters in the process.   While the campaign itself ended in 2016, the work …

What did Oxfam learn from talking to workers in food and footwear factories supplying M&S?

Rachel Wilshaw Private sector, Rights

In 2017 M&S asked Oxfam to carry out a ‘gap analysis’ study to ‘better understand the true worker experience and identify the changes we need to make in our own operations and those of our suppliers’ similar to another undertaken by Oxfam together with Unilever. For Oxfam, the project provided a rare opportunity to hear people’s experience of working in food and footwear factories which supply M&S and other retailers.  M&S and Oxfam set …

Which supermarkets are doing the most to protect the rights of food workers?

Rosa Polaschek Private sector

As the Coronavirus pandemic drives home the importance of the frontline workers producing and supplying our food, Oxfam’s Behind the Barcodes campaign to improve the conditions of people in supermarket supply chains is more relevant than ever. And yet, the 2020 Supermarket Scorecard highlights that no supermarket is doing enough to combat human suffering in those supply chains, despite progress …

4 things Lidl can do to take action on worker exploitation

Rachel Wilshaw Private sector

As part of Oxfam’s Behind the Barcodes campaign, Rachel Wilshaw outlines what Lidl can do to tackle worker exploitation in their supply chains. How many of us have teabags and tinned tomatoes in our cupboards, or spring onions in our fridges? Most people would be horrified to learn that these products and more are tainted with human suffering and exploitation, …

What are supermarkets doing to tackle human suffering in their supply chains?

Monica Romis Food & livelihoods, Gender, Inequality, Livelihoods, Living wage, Private sector, Rights

Last year, Oxfam embarked on a campaign asking 16 supermarkets to take responsibility for ending human suffering in their food supply chains. A year on, Monica Romis asks, what has changed?   Slow progress to respect human rights   The 2019 Supermarket Scorecard shows that, while some are doing better than others, all supermarkets lack sufficient policies to properly protect the people who produce our food. No supermarket does even 40% of what the Oxfam benchmark asks them to.   Eight of the 16 companies, including Lidl, Plus and Whole …

5 lessons learned on how to conduct a Human Rights Impact Assessment

Tim Gore Food & livelihoods, Private sector

Oxfam recently conducted a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) with Finland’s biggest supermarket. Tim Gore shares more. Human rights abuses are widespread in global food supply chains – from forced labour on fishing vessels in southeast Asia, to poverty wages on Indian tea estates, and exposure to dangerous chemicals on banana plantations in central America. Supermarkets are the powerful last …

Are supermarket canned tomatoes now free from labour exploitation?

Tim Gore Agriculture, Food & livelihoods, Inequality, Livelihoods, Private sector, Rights

Tim Gore shares three key findings from Oxfam’s human rights impact assessment of the Italian processed tomato sector. There have been a range of media and NGO reports in recent years about endemic labour exploitation in the Italian tomato sector. But as Oxfam’s The People Behind the Prices, shows, while some progress has been made, many of the root causes …

Why is Oxfam campaigning against ALDI?

Rachel Wilshaw Food & livelihoods, Inequality, Private sector

When Oxfam scored major supermarkets according to their public policies and practices that prevent human suffering, ALDI came bottom. As part of our #BehindtheBarcodes campaign, Rachel Wilshaw explains why they ranked so low and what can be done to improve it.  Update Since Oxfam started campaigning against ALDI in October, the company has published a human rights policy, appointed a …

What more should supermarkets do to respect workers’ rights in their supply chain?

james Food & livelihoods, Inequality, Private sector

Recently Oxfam has been calling on supermarkets to end the human suffering in their supply chains for the Behind the Barcodes campaign. Here Rachel Wilshaw goes into more detail on the practical actions supermarkets can take and why it’s so important.  Oxfam’s Ripe for Change report highlights hunger and suffering amongst the people who grow and process our food. Across a …