Slow progress to respect human rights
Moving towards transparent policies and practices
- Committed to the United Nations framework (UNGPs), which ask companies to ‘know and show’ where human rights risks are in their supply chains; and
- Become more accountable by identifying who at the top of the company is responsible.
Human rights due diligence
Emerging good practices in promoting workers’ rights
- Forced labour prevention – over half of the companies commit to proactively prevent forced labour, including at the recruitment stage – a key measure to prevent modern slavery, although Oxfam continues to monitor the implementation of a company’s commitment.
- Cutting and running – nearly half also commit not to ‘cut and run’ from suppliers when labour exploitation is exposed – a practice that penalizes workers.
Failing to protect farmers’ and women’s rights
Where do supermarkets need to do more?
- Supply chain transparency. No supermarket currently gives consumers basic information about the suppliers they buy their food from. Albert Heijn and Jumbo have said they will by 2020.
- Living wages. No supermarket ensures that the workers and producers in their supply chains are paid enough to eat properly. However, Tesco has committed to conduct a living wage assessment in its supply chains.
- Gender equality. Bar Sainsbury’s and Walmart, no supermarket supports suppliers who take gender equality seriously, or source more from women-owned businesses.
- Unfair trading practices. Supermarkets use a range of practices that pressure suppliers – squeezing their ability to pay workers a living wage. Low-price policies in particular contribute to the exploitation of workers. This undermines any good efforts companies place in other areas. Only three supermarkets have committed to eliminate these practices, but no meaningful actions have been disclosed.