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Oxfam scores US and European supermarkets on food supply chains

Oxfam has assessed 16 large supermarkets across the US and Europe on their policies and practices in their food supply chains. Oxfam looked at the transparency of their supply chains, treatment of small-scale farmers and women workers in their supply chains. The results reveal low scores across the board, with the lowest scores in themes regarding women and transparency and accountability.

The global report is available below along with separate reports on Dutch, German, UK & US supermarkets, and seafood supply chains.

Our evidence shows that supermarket giants are capturing an increasing share of the money their customers spend at the checkout, while just a small and declining fraction reaches those who produced their food. 

Winnie Byanyima - Executive Director Oxfam International 

 ⬅  Use the companies list in the left-hand side to explore the articles, reports and company responses we hold on these supermarkets.


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22 October 2018

Aldi to appoint human & labour rights director following their low Oxfam ranking on protecting workers in co's supply chain

Author: The Grocer

"Aldi to appoint human and labour rights director", 18 Oct 2018

Aldi is to appoint a senior international director responsible for human and labour rights and publish an international human rights policy... 

The development comes after the German retailer was urged to “up its game” and “drive out suffering and hunger” from its supply chains by Oxfam director of campaign and policy Matthew Spencer...

It is not clear when Aldi will appoint the human and labour rights director or when its international human rights policy will be published. 

“We respect human rights and have comprehensive policies in place to ensure that everyone in our supply chain who makes, grows and supplies our products is treated fairly,” an Aldi spokeswoman said. 

“Oxfam’s report is based on desktop research of publicly available information and was conducted almost a year ago. It is misleading and not representative of our current position. 

“We are meeting with Oxfam next week to provide them with more accurate information and we are disappointed that they have taken this action before meeting with us to fully understand our policies and practices.” [also refers to Tesco, Morrisons, Lidl]

Read the full post here

21 June 2018

Global Report - Ripe for Change: Ending Human Suffering in Supermarket Supply Chains

Author: Oxfam International

...Inequality is rampant across the global economy, and the agro‐food sector is no exception. At the top, big supermarkets4 and other corporate food giants dominate global food markets, allowing them to squeeze value from vast supply chains that span the globe, while at the bottom the bargaining power of small‐scale farmers and workers has been steadily eroded in many of the countries from which they source... The result is widespread human suffering among the women and men producing food for supermarkets around the world... Oxfam’s Supermarkets Scorecard sets challenging new benchmarks for the industry to move towards a fairer and more inclusive supply chain model. Achieving them will not be easy, and they are no substitute for the measures required of other stakeholders, such as government, but they offer a path for supermarkets to demonstrate their commitment to fairer, more sustainable supply chains for the women and men who work in them...

Download the full document here

21 June 2018

Oxfam assessment of Dutch supermarket's food supply chains

Author: Oxfam Novib

The Dutch supermarket sector is heavily consolidated, with the two largest supermarket chains controlling over 50% of the market... At the same time, supermarkets are competing with each other fiercely in the battle for consumers. They try to attract customers by offering low prices for good quality food and a wide variety of options year-round. The growing dominance of supermarkets in the food sector in the Netherlands and elsewhere, through the use of this competitive model, has negative impacts on millions of farmers and workers who grow and process food under harsh conditions... The Oxfam research highlights abuses of fundamental human rights which are tied into the vast global value chains that supermarkets have come to rely on... 

Oxfam’s Supermarkets Scorecard... shows that the top five Dutch retailers do not have the systems and policies in place to ensure the necessary levels of transparency, accountability and due diligence that could help them prevent, mitigate and address human rights issues in their supply chains...

Download the full document here

21 June 2018

Oxfam assessment of German supermarket's food supply chains

Author: Oxfam Germany

...A new Supermarkets Scorecard developed by Oxfam rates some of the biggest and fastest growing supermarkets in Germany...on the strength of their publicly available policies and reported practices to address human rights and social sustainability issues. The analysis paints a clear picture: none of the ‘Big Four’ German supermarket chains – the Aldi Group,8 Edeka, Lidl and Rewe – are living up to their responsibility to identify, publish and act upon the risk of human rights violations in their supply chains. Indeed, none of them scored higher than 8% in any of the evaluated themes. This means that Germany’s Big Four are among the worst-performing supermarkets assessed globally.

Download the full document here

21 June 2018

Oxfam assessment of UK supermarket's food supply chains

Author: Oxfam GB

... In the UK, the grocery sector is one of the most diverse and sophisticated in the world, worth nearly £185bn per year... Supermarkets have delivered low prices, unparalleled year-round choice and ‘just in time’ convenience to many consumers in the UK. But they have done so by using their huge buyer power to exert relentless pressure on their suppliers to cut costs while meeting exacting quality requirements, often using a range of unfair trading practices to do so...A new Supermarkets Scorecard developed by Oxfam rates and ranks the most powerful UK supermarkets (the four largest and two fastest-growing) on the strength of their policies and practices to address human rights and social sustainability. The Scorecard sets challenging benchmarks based on robust international standards and widely recognized best practice on transparency and accountability, and on the treatment of workers, small-scale farmers and women in supply chains. These are all areas in which we believe UK supermarkets are well placed to drive positive change and maintain consumers’ trust...

Download the full document here

21 June 2018

Oxfam assessment of US supermarket's food supply chains

Author: Oxfam US

...Given their tremendous market power and growing profits, food retailers can afford to act ethically and equitably. Unfortunately, the market leaders have failed to live up to this responsibility, instead using their huge buying power to exert continual pressure on their suppliers to cut costs and absorb risks... Oxfam's new Supermarkets Scorecard (presented in Section 6) assesses many of the leading US retailers to better understand how they perform when it comes to measuring social risks in their supply chains and how they can take action to address those problems. It shows an urgent need to better address those abuses that are commonly found in the products they source through increased commitment to policy and practice changes...

Download the full document here

21 June 2018

Supermarket Responsibilities for Supply Chain Workers’ Rights

Author: Oxfam International and the Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia

... Our interviews with workers on Thai fishing vessels... suggest that forced labour and other appalling employment practices are still in use. Our findings echo those of other recent reports, meaning that supermarkets sourcing shrimp and other seafood from the region still have urgent questions to answer about the conditions of fisheries workers behind the products they sell... for women, who make up 80–90% of the workforce at shrimp and other seafood processing plants,13 the challenges take place on land, not at sea.. supermarkets in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US have, on average, increased their share of the money their consumers spend on shrimp sourced from Indonesia and Thailand – as with many other supply chains – while the share left for actors in the producing countries has steadily declined.. It doesn’t have to be this way. While Oxfam’s new benchmarks are challenging, there is a strong business case for achieving them, including business opportunities in higher quality products, more resilient supply chains and a more honest relationship with supermarkets’ customers. Oxfam is calling for supermarkets to lead the food sector as a whole to shift power towards workers to ensure their rights are respected...

Download the full document here