Supermarkets need ‘big improvements’ to support supply chain workers

2 July 2020

UK supermarkets “still have big improvements to make” before their policies and practices make a positive difference to workers and farmers in their supply chains, according to Oxfam. 

Tesco was the highest-scoring supermarket for the third year in a row in Oxfam’s third annual supermarket scorecard.

The charity analysed six of the UK’s largest supermarkets’ policies and practices on human rights in their supply chains – Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Oxfam aimed to determine “whether supermarkets are transparent and accountable in the ways they ensure that workers’ rights are respected, farmers are prosperous and resilient and the women who produce our food are treated fairly”.

Tesco’s overall average score was 46%, an increase of eight percentage points on its score in 2019, while Sainsbury’s remained in second place with 44%, up 17 percentage points.

Morrisons and Lidl both dramatically improved their scores. Morrisons scored 33%, up from 16% and Lidl scored 32%, up on 9%. The two lowest-scoring supermarkets were Asda (29%) and Aldi (25%).

The biggest area of progress was companies’ demonstration of transparency and accountability, increasing 32% on average since the first scorecard was published in June 2018.

Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s ethical trade manager, said: “This year we have seen important improvements from three of the six supermarkets in our scorecard – Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Lidl.

“Each of them has taken a public stance on equal treatment of women workers by signing up to the UN Women’s Empowerment principles. Given that last year neither Morrisons or Lidl scored any points for policies to protect women workers, this progress is significant.

“Tesco continue to have the highest rating on the scorecard overall and are the only supermarket who receive a ‘green’ on workers’ rights, awarded for scores of over 60%. They are the only supermarket starting to give positive incentives to suppliers which demonstrate better labour standards, which suggests they are serious about rethinking their business practices.

“For all of the progress, all six supermarkets still have big improvements to make before their policies and practices make a really positive difference to workers and farmers in their supply chains. Supply chain professionals have a vitally important role to play, in ensuring the way in which food suppliers are selected and incentivised make improvements possible."

Supermarket scorecard 2020

1. Tesco 46% (38% in 2019)

2. Sainsbury’s 44% (27%)

3. Morrisons 33% (16%)

4. Lidl 32% (9%)

5. Asda 29% (23%)

6. Aldi 25% (19%)

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