A scathing new report published by Oxfam has revealed that many supermarkets in Europe and the US are not doing enough to protect workers’ rights in the supply chain.

The report is titled, “Ripe for Change: Ending human suffering in supermarket supply chains“. Within it, researchers seek to “expose the root causes behind human suffering in food supply chains and to mobilize the power of people around the world to help to end it, starting with a focus on the role of supermarkets”.

At the heart of the research is an accusation that many of the biggest supermarkets – including the likes of Asda, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Walmart and Whole Foods – have inadequate and incompetent systems in place to effectively monitor traceability and transparency across their supply chains. As also highlighted in The Good Shopping Guide, these concerns become especially revealing when it comes to finer dissection of these companies human rights policies.

Supermarkets workers rights

Image: Supermarket transparency / www.oxfam.org.uk

At the top, big supermarkets 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.

As big supermarkets and other corporate food giants increasingly dominate the global food market, researchers argue that they obtain too much power and are enabled “to squeeze value from vast supply chains that span the globe”. At the bottom is the diminishing bargaining power of farmers and food workers. “The result is widespread human suffering among the women and men producing food for supermarkets around the world. From forced labour aboard fishing vessels in Southeast Asia, to poverty wages on Indian tea plantations and hunger faced by workers on South African grape farms, human and labour rights abuses are all too common in food supply chains.”

You can learn more here. Below is the supermarket scorecard published with the report.

Supermarkets workers rights