EU action needed for fair supermarket supply chains

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Policy and case study research by a European coalition of civil society organisations shows that EU policy action is needed to secure decent work and prevent unfair trading practices in supermarket supply chains from developing countries. “We call on the European Parliament and the European Commission to step in as the policies supermarkets have adopted are not addressing these issues properly and new measures that have been set up by the industry will not offer a solution either”, says SOMO-researcher Sanne van der Wal. SOMO that is part of the CSO coalition sent its new briefing to EU policy makers today.

In 11 EU countries 7 large retail chains control more than 70 percent of food retail in each of these countries. These supermarkets have immense influence on what consumers buy and how food is produced. Their high market shares give them the power to engage in abusive purchasing practices, called ‘unfair trading practices’. Evidence has exposed how such practices impact consumer prices and variety, suppliers’ profitability and competitiveness, and working conditions in the developing world.

The briefing highlights new research by the CSO coalition, which shows that policies of European retailers fail to safeguard decent work and fair trade in their food supply chains in developing countries. The briefing concludes with specific recommendations to EU policy makers.

Since 2011 a coalition of European civil society organizations, including Traidcraft (UK), Consumers International (UK/EU wide), Oxfam Germany, Christliche Iniative Romero (Germany), and the Association of Conscious Consumers (Hungary), has been addressing the unfair trading practices (UTPs) of European supermarkets and bad working conditions in retail supply chains. The coalition conducts case study research, proposes policies to safeguard decent work and advocates for the elimination of UTPs.

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