Oxfam International has explained its fourth supermarket scorecard to reveal the overall patterns of companies that have taken significant steps to improve the working conditions of the men and women who produce their food.
Since the launch of Oxfam’s international Behind the Price campaign, most supermarkets have started to take human rights in their global food supply chains seriously. Oxfam published its fourth Supermarket Scorecard in 2022, including supermarkets from the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany. “For the first time in four years, four supermarkets have scored 55% or above in our research analysis,” Gabriella Bucher added.
The Oxfam International Executive Director, Gabriela Bucher, said supermarkets should try and respect the rights of farmers and workers who produce the food they sell.
“Supermarkets must do more to respect the rights of workers, farmers, and women who produce our food. The biggest barrier to ensuring better pay and working conditions is their ongoing drive to cut costs and negotiate the lowest possible prices with suppliers.”Gabriela Bucher
Gabriela Bucher iterated that, “before the initiative’s launch, supermarkets were ‘gender blind’ when they were first assessed in 2018 but the narrative has improved .
“We have seen an increased awareness and now real commitments by many supermarkets to tackle gender inequalities in their global supply chains. It is encouraging that some supermarkets take significant steps to tackle human rights abuses in their supply chains. But to protect workers and enable decent pay, we need to see concrete changes towards responsible buying practices.”Gabriela Bucher
Supermarkets need to do much more
According to Oxfam’s report, the 2022 scores reflect that companies are starting to tackle gender issues. However, supermarkets still need to prioritize their gender policies to address gender inequality in their supply chains, the report revealed.
The report disclosed some actions supermarkets should take to address the underlying cause of exploitation, including the inequality of power between their business and the workers and producers in their value chains.
Supermarkets have enormous buying power; therefore, harmful purchasing practices will often occur at the expense of labor rights in the supply chain. However, labor rights violations remain systemic, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequality in global food supply chains. According to the report, while supermarket owners and shareholders continue to make millions in profit, workers- especially women – have seen their incomes stagnate or even fall.
The 2022 Scorecard shows progress on human rights across the food sector industry. Most supermarkets have published policies and commitments that have the potential to bring about actual improvement for food workers and farmers and have taken the first steps in implementing them.
“Oxfam will continue to monitor the progress and implementation of these supermarkets’ commitments, to ensure that they deliver on the commitments made during the campaign.”Gabriela Bucher
The report has attracted a lot of comments from some labour welfare Advocates, advising that the campaign be scaled up to take effect in all countries of the world.