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27 Oct 2014

Eniko Horvarth, The Guardian (UK)

Supermarkets' struggle for economic survival must not come at expense of human rights

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Discount chains have knocked major European supermarkets off the top spot and their share prices have tumbled to a new low, fuelling a price war on key grocery items. Supermarkets are feeling the squeeze and this is resonating through their supply chains. But as the price of many consumers’ shopping baskets falls, it is important this does not come at the cost of human rights. In a recent report, Fairfood International raised concerns that tomato suppliers to European supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Dutch supermarket Ahold, do not provide a living wage to workers on their fields. When Business & Human Rights Resource Centre brought these concerns to the companies’ attention, all three said that they paid at least the minimum wage and had existing commitments to improving working conditions in their supply chain...

So, as European supermarkets continue to fight for their economic survival, they must undertake due diligence throughout their supply chain to ensure their struggle to the top doesn’t become a race to the bottom for human rights.