Oxfam accuses workers’ rights violations in supply chains

The new research commissioned by Oxfam reveals the extent of human, workers’ and women’s rights violations supermarket supply chains. Two detailed case studies in Brazil and India disclose that forced labor, hidden suffering and discrimination form part of the day-to-day business in the supply chains of many international supermarket chains.

In Assam, the North Indian tea-production region, 510 workers on 50 tea estates, that are linked to the supply chains of several international supermarkets, have been interviewed for the Oxfam study. The results show that exploitation, long working hours (up to 13 hours a day) and human suffering are not the exception, but rather the norm. The research shows that supermarkets and tea brands collectively retain between 67% to 94% (4,65$ per 100g back) of the final consumer price, whereas the worker in the North-Indian region just receive 1% to 4% (0,4$). In Brazil, the Oxfam research on supply chains of tropical fruits shows the vulnerability of seasonal workers reporting harsh treatments, poverty and dangerous exposure to pesticides on farms. Female workers often experience discrimination, but 10 of the 16 examined supermarket chains do not take proactive steps to ensure fair and equal treatment.

Oxfam’s up-to date findings establish a clear call to action to supermarkets to take responsibility for the miseries in their supply chains and to ensure decent working and living conditions.  Consumers and investors increasingly exert more pressure on supermarkets to provide solid and transparent information about the origin of the products. To take action, it is indispensable to be informed about the entire supply chain. sustainabill offers the technical support to control, map and visualize the supply chain from the final product back to the source collecting data from suppliers and sub-suppliers. The cloud platform works across different sectors including agriculture, mining and textile. An integrated risks screening enables companies to manage environmental, political and social risks.

Read more about workers’ rights in supermarket supply chains here.