Human Rights Impact Assessment of Finnish food retailer's Italian tomato supply chains released as part of pilot on going "beyond audits"

The Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) of SOK Corporation's Italian processed tomato supply chains was prepared by Oxfam as part of a pilot for the company's new approach to assessing human rights impacts in high risk supply chains that goes ‘beyond audits’. The aim of the assessment was to assess the actual and potential human rights impacts at the production stage of the company's Italian processed tomato supply chains, identify their root causes and make recommendations for prioritized actions to address, mitigate and/or remediate identified impacts. The HRIA is available below.

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Article
17 April 2019

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

Author: Tim Gore, Oxfam

Oxfam’s Behind the Barcodes campaign calls for [supermarkets] to do much more to respect the rights of the people producing the food on their shelves. 

We ask that they go beyond tick-box social audits of their suppliers, which often miss critical issues, and invest in robust processes of human rights due diligence using tools such as HRIAs. Netherlands’ biggest supermarket, Albert Heijn, recently committed to undertake six HRIAs per year. 

Last month Oxfam published a new HRIA of the Italian processed tomato supply chains of S-Group, Finland’s biggest supermarket. As far as we know, it is the most comprehensive such assessment conducted by a major food retailer to date. 

Beyond the findings about the Italian processed tomato sector specifically, what can supermarkets that want to go beyond using social audits, like Albert Heijn, learn from the HRIA process itself?

1. The approach is scalable ...

2. Access to stakeholders at all stages of the value chain is critical ...

3. Commercial transparency is possible ...

4. Root cause analysis is the bridge between identified impacts and recommended actions ...

5. The new OECD Due Diligence Guidance can help to resolve tricky questions ...

Any HRIA should be followed by a public, time-bound action plan that responds to its findings and recommendations...

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Article
18 February 2019

The people behind the prices - Main report

Author: Oxfam

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Article
18 February 2019

The people behind the prices - Summary

Author: Oxfam

Oxfam's Behind the Barcodes campaign calls on supermarkets, who play such a critical role in shaping today's food supply chains, to do more to ensure that the human and labour rights of those producing the food they sell are respected...

This focused Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) of SOK Corporation's Italian processed tomato supply chains is a pilot for the company's new approach to assessing human rights impacts in high risk supply chains that goes ‘beyond audits’...

In recent years there have been a range of reports in Italian and international media outlets, by civil society organizations and multi-stakeholder initiatives of exploitative labour practices on farms, especially in the South of Italy, supplying the processed tomato industry. These reports have documented the practice of recruitment of workers, the vast majority of whom migrants, through illegal labour brokers called caporale, whose control extends to many aspects of workers' lives.

Reported conditions include low wages paid as piece rates rather than according to collective wage agreements, excessive working hours, unsafe transport to and from work and informal accommodation housing thousands of workers without basic amenities including running water and electricity. The risk of human rights impacts such as these in SOK's Italian processed tomato value chain are explored in the assessment.

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