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25 Feb 2019

Ioan Nemes, Oxfam Novib

Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn publishes new human rights & due diligence policy in response to Oxfam campaign

"Albert Heijn commits to become a leader on human rights", 19 Feb 2019

After the launch of Oxfam’s Behind the Barcodes campaign in the summer of 2018 [...] the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn recently became the first supermarket in the world to publish a new human rights and due diligence policy in response to Oxfam’s campaign...

Albert Heijn is thus one of the first supermarkets in the world to publicly commit to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the OECD Guidelines in a systematic way, by involving potentially affected stakeholders in both the development of the due diligence process and in resolving the negative impacts identified...

Albert Heijn now openly admits that a sole reliance on social audits and certifications is insufficient to protect human rights. The limitations of social audits and certifications have been the subject of many debates yet many supermarkets continue to rely heavily on them... Albert Heijn is responding to this call by committing to carrying out at least six impact assessments per year in supply chains where human rights are at risk...

[One] gap in is that the new policy lacks concrete steps about how the results of the human rights impacts assessments will be converted into action. The commitments are promising, but in the end their effectiveness will depend on how they are implemented... [also refers to Ahold Delhaize, Jumbo, Lidl, Aldi and Plus]