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29 Jan 2024

Europe: Oxfam Intl. release analysis of supermarket impact assessments & commitments; incl. cos. responses


In January 2023, Oxfam International released a discussion paper evaluating several Dutch, German and UK supermarket brands' commitments to conduct and publish human rights impact assessments (HRIAs), and subsequent action plans to mitigate and prevent negative human rights impacts. Towards meaningful human rights impact assessments: From supermarket commitments to best practice action found three supermarkets - Asda, EDEKA and Rewe - had neither made a commitment to conduct HRIAs nor had they published any assessments. The other brands - Albert Heijn, Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd, Jumbo, Lidl, Morrisons, PLUS, Sainsbury's and Tesco - had each publised at least one HRIA report.

However, Oxfam did also highlight several areas where brands could improve, highlighting best practices at a minority of brands. These include, not prioritising high-risk supplly chains, considering only a limited scope of human rights, lacking internal/ external capacity and expertise within research teams, failing to engage rightsholders meaningfully or in a gender-responsive way, overlooking vulnerable rightsholders, and inadequately addressing root causes such as purchasing practices in the analysis. Oxfam also found supermarkets downplay their own role and leverage for change, failed to formulate effective actions and were non-transparency about the progress on implementation. Recommendations and guidance on carrying out effective HRIAs and implementing action plans are included in the paper.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the named supermarkets to address the paper's findings, including regarding their own company's progress, as well as the recommendations published by Oxfam. Asda, EDEKA and REWE were invited to disclose information on any alternative steps taken to assess human rights impacts in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, and to provide information aout any planned or upcoming HRIAs.

Responses from all supermarkets can be read in full below.


Edeka Group Antwort anzeigen
REWE Group Antwort anzeigen
Aldi Nord Antwort anzeigen
ALDI South Antwort anzeigen
Ahold Delhaize Antwort anzeigen
Albert Heijn (part of Ahold Delhaize) Antwort anzeigen
Morrisons Antwort anzeigen
Sainsbury's Antwort anzeigen