Oxfam International Blogs - Food and Voices http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/foodandvoices In a global food industry worth trillions of dollars, far too many of the people behind our food are suffering, working long hours in inhumane conditions for little reward. In this blog we’ll be exposing the root causes of the problem, sharing the stories of farmers, food workers and campaigners, and showing how supermarkets and governments can help to end this injustice. en One Year of Action To End Human Suffering Behind Our Food http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-07-10-one-year-action-end-human-suffering-behind-our-food <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>One year ago, Oxfam launched the Behind the Price campaign to end the human suffering behind our food. Thanks to you and your support, the campaign has already achieved some big wins.</strong>&nbsp;</p><p>No one should have to go hungry to put food on our tables.</p><p>Yet we live in a world where the people who produce the food we buy in supermarkets work in unsafe conditions, are subjected to exploitation and harassment on the job, and don’t earn enough to feed their families.</p><p>That’s why Oxfam launched the <a href="https://www.behindtheprice.org/en/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Behind the Price campaign</strong></a> to call attention to this suffering–and demand that it ends.</p><p><strong>Consumers Demand Change</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Since the campaign launched, hundreds of thousands of people like you have put down their forks and heeded the call to think about where our food comes from and who produces it. In fact, more than 232,200 people in over 100 countries have taken action to end human suffering in our food!</p><p>As one of the most powerful actors in the food system, supermarkets have been a key target.</p><ul><li><a href="https://oxfamapps.org/blog/help-keep-up-the-pressure-on-aldi/" rel="nofollow"><strong>In the UK</strong></a>, shoppers delivered letters<a href="https://oxfamapps.org/blog/help-keep-up-the-pressure-on-aldi/" rel="nofollow"></a> to supermarket managers.</li><li><a href="https://www.facebook.com/oxfamnovib/videos/448570408998938/" rel="nofollow"><strong>In the Netherlands</strong></a>, consumers and supermarket employees saw spray-painted “Green Graffiti”<a href="https://www.facebook.com/oxfamnovib/videos/448570408998938/" rel="nofollow"></a> outside of supermarkets.</li><li><a href="https://www.oxfam.de/ueber-uns/aktuelles/2019-02-14-aldi-brichst-uns-herz" rel="nofollow"><strong>German supermarket shoppers</strong></a> were met with hearts on Valentine’s Day, while <a href="https://twitter.com/OxfamItalia/status/1122749867988856832" rel="nofollow"><strong>shoppers in Italy</strong></a> took to social media to call on their stores to take action.<a href="https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/stories/behind-the-barcodes-food-truck-tour/" rel="nofollow"><strong> </strong></a></li><li><a href="https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/stories/behind-the-barcodes-food-truck-tour/" rel="nofollow"><strong>In the US</strong></a>, a custom-built food truck toured the country, visiting customers along the way and sharing stories about the people behind the food in their grocery stores.</li><li><a href="http://www.monlaitestlocal.africa/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Citizens in six West African countries</strong></a><span> stood up for fair and local milk, backed by musician Oumou Sangaré. </span></li><li><span></span><a href="https://philippines.oxfam.org/latest/press-release/groups-%E2%80%98hungry-change%E2%80%99-demand-inclusion-food-justice-and-land-rights-campaign" rel="nofollow"><strong>In the Philippines</strong></a><span>, farmers, food workers, and activists banded together on World Food Day (16 October) to urge candidates to ensure basic issues like food security are part of their election platforms.</span></li></ul><p><strong>All of this in one year - and we are just getting started!</strong></p><p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QBls8z6rrzI" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p><strong>Supermarkets Step Up</strong></p><p>Consumer action is working: supermarkets have responded by making commitments to tackle the exploitation of food workers and farmers.</p><p>Two Dutch companies, <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/19-02-21-dutch-supermarket-albert-heijn-takes-action-human-rights-oxfam-campaign"><strong>Albert Heijn</strong></a> and <a href="https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/dutch-supermarket-jumbo-publishes-new-human-rights-due-diligence-policy-in-response-to-oxfam-campaign" rel="nofollow"><strong>Jumbo</strong></a>, have made far-reaching commitments on sustainability and human rights. Others, such as <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/oxfam-reaction-aldis-human-rights-policy" rel="nofollow"><strong>German supermarket Aldi South</strong></a>, Tesco in the UK, and supermarkets in Thailand, have made progress on identifying where the risks of human rights violations are in order to better prevent them from occurring. These are important steps on the long road to transforming the global food system so it is fair for everyone–farmers, food workers, and consumers.</p><p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/19-07-03-how-are-supermarkets-taking-responsibility-ending-human-suffering-their-food"><strong>Oxfam’s 2019 supermarket scorecard</strong></a> reflects the early stages of progress: almost all companies improved their scores in the past year. Following public actions in several countries against Aldi South, Ahold Delhaize, and Jumbo, these supermarkets are moving up, showing that they are listening to their customers.</p><p>But the gap is widening; laggard supermarkets continue to show little or no sign of improvement. Companies like Aldi North, Plus, Lidl, and Whole Foods have taken few, if any, steps to address human rights abuses, leaving them even further behind their competitors.</p><p><strong>Real Progress for Seafood Workers in Southeast Asia</strong></p><p>Commitments from supermarkets can only go so far - they need to be implemented on the ground to be meaningful. This year we’ve seen some promising progress in the Southeast Asian seafood industry.</p><p>In June 2018, working closely with partners in Southeast Asia, <a href="https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/supermarket-responsibilities-for-supply-chain-workers-rights-continuing-challen-620480" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam found evidence of forced labor</strong></a> and inhumane working conditions, including harassment and verbal abuse within the industry, both for fishermen on boats and for women workers in processing plants. Since we published these findings and tens of thousands of people took action, at least three major seafood suppliers in Thailand have actively engaged on the issues and are making commitments to improve worker welfare, such as promoting fair recruitment practices and establishing effective grievance mechanisms for workers.</p><p>We will continue to push and support these seafood companies to make further improvements for their workers.</p><p><strong>More Work to Be Done</strong></p><p>In just one year, there has been significant progress to improve the lives of food workers and producers around the world.&nbsp;<span>We couldn’t have done it without the support of people like you. </span></p><p><span>But we’re not done yet – we have some exciting plans for 2019. </span></p><p><span>More work is needed—most supermarkets still rank far too low on Oxfam’s scorecard, meaning they are not doing enough to ensure the workers and farmers who produce their food are treated fairly.</span></p><p><strong><a href="https://www.behindtheprice.org/en/" rel="nofollow">Join the campaign to end suffering in our food!</a>&nbsp;</strong><strong>Together, we can ensure that human suffering is never an ingredient in the food we eat.</strong></p><p><em>This entry posted on 10 July 2019, by Oliver Gottfried, Oxfam Senior Campaigns Strategist.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Campaigners in the Philippines push for food security. Credit: Vin Aranas/GRAISEA2 PMU</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>One Year of Action To End Human Suffering Behind Our Food</h2></div> Wed, 10 Jul 2019 07:27:00 +0000 Guest Blogger 82022 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-07-10-one-year-action-end-human-suffering-behind-our-food#comments How are supermarkets taking responsibility for ending human suffering in their food? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-07-03-how-are-supermarkets-taking-responsibility-ending-human-suffering-their-food <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Last year, Oxfam launched a campaign to get 16 major supermarkets to take responsibility for ending human suffering in their food supply chains. A year later, here's their report card.</strong></p><p><span>Human suffering is a common ingredient in many of the products on our supermarket shelves. The way supermarkets do business – their drive for cheaper produce and bigger profits – means millions of workers and smallholder producers work long hours, for poverty pay in poor conditions.</span></p><p><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/behindtheprice" rel="nofollow">Oxfam’s Behind the Prices scorecard</a></strong> aims to change this. Every year we use publicly available information to assess the policies and practices of the 16 biggest and fastest growing supermarkets in Germany, Netherlands, the UK and the US and score them on what they are doing to protect the rights of workers and small-scale producers in their supply chains.</p><p>Our first scorecard – launched 12 months ago – revealed that the plight of workers and producers was not on the supermarkets radar. After a year of campaigning which saw over 200,000 shoppers contact stores to demand action, our 2019 scorecard looks at whether anything has changed.</p><p><img alt="Behind the Price supermarket scorecard 2019" title="Behind the Price supermarket scorecard 2019" height="2587" width="1161" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/behind-the-price-scorecard-2019-globalbhrrc_0.jpg" /></p><p><em>Oxfam's Supermarket Scorecard 2019. Note: The score of a parent company applies to any subsidiary companies; for example, Asda’s score is based on Walmart’s assessment and Albert Heijn’s on Ahold Delhaize’s.&nbsp;</em></p><p><strong>Slow progress – but still progress</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/behindtheprice" rel="nofollow">Oxfam’s 2019 Supermarket Scorecard</a> shows that some supermarkets are beginning to change the way they do business. However, change has been slow and patchy, and no supermarket is doing anywhere near enough to ensure the people who produce our food have a decent income and working conditions.</p><p>Even Tesco (UK), the best performing supermarket for the second year in a row and one of the most improved retailers this year, scores just 38 percent. A handful of other supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s (UK) and Wal-Mart (US) have made very limited improvements over the last year, while eight of the 16 companies, including Lidl (Germany), Plus (Netherlands) and Whole Foods (US), have done little or nothing.</p><p>Despite this rather gloomy assessment there have been flashes of light that show that supermarkets will change when they feel pressure from customers.</p><p><strong>Supermarkets are starting to open up</strong></p><p>Supermarkets have made most progress on transparency - scoring an average of 17 percent this year, up from just 5 percent in 2018.</p><p>Three companies, Dutch supermarkets Albert Heijn (a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize) and Jumbo, and German retailer Aldi South, published <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/19-02-21-dutch-supermarket-albert-heijn-takes-action-human-rights-oxfam-campaign"><strong>new policies on human rights</strong></a> in their supply chains over the last year. The two Dutch companies are the only supermarkets who have <a href="https://www.oxfamnovib.nl/kenniscentrum/blog-kenniscentrum/the-first-step-is-the-hardest-dutch-supermarket-jumbo-moves-in-right-direction-on-human-rights%3E%3E" rel="nofollow"><strong>committed to publish details</strong></a> of their primary suppliers for their own brand products. This means many Dutch shoppers will know more about where their products have come from, and farmers and workers will know more about who is buying their produce.</p><p>In another positive development, eight of the 16 companies have started to publicly identify and address policies and practices that could lead to the abuse of workers and smallholder farmers in their supply chains.</p><p><strong>Baby steps forward on workers rights</strong></p><p>Progress on workers rights has been more modest with supermarkets increasing their average score by just 6 percent to 18 percent in 2019.</p><p>Nevertheless, over half of companies have now committed to take proactive action to prevent the use of forced labour, and nearly half of companies have pledged to work with suppliers when incidents of abuse are highlighted and not ‘cut and run’ – a practice which can lead to workers losing their jobs.</p><p><strong>Failing protect farmers’ and women’s rights</strong></p><p>Supermarkets have done next to nothing<a href="https://oxfamapps.org/blog/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-women-who-produce-our-food/" rel="nofollow"></a> to improve the lot of smallholder producers. There has been no measurable progress over the last year beyond selling a handful of <strong><a href="http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/Buying-Fairtrade" rel="nofollow">Fairtrade certified products</a></strong> (which nearly all supermarkets do now) and supermarkets score an average of just 11 percent on this issue.</p><p>Retailers are doing even less when it comes to <a href="https://oxfamapps.org/blog/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-women-who-produce-our-food/" rel="nofollow"><strong>protecting women’s rights</strong></a>. Supermarkets score an average of just 7 percent while ten of the 16 companies score zero on this issue. While most supermarkets ‘get’ the fact that women are not treated equally – and that for example women often earn less than men for doing the same jobs – they are not doing anything about it. Only Tesco and Ahold Delhaize have made improvements this year and - together with Wal-Mart –have taken steps to uphold the rights of women in their supply chains.</p><p><strong>What next for supermarkets?</strong></p><p>Oxfam, together with hundreds of thousands of shoppers, will be pushing for deeper, faster, and broader change in the next 12 months.</p><p>We will be pushing all supermarkets to:</p><ul><li>publish details where their own label products are sourced from;</li><li>put plans in place to ensure workers in their supply chains are paid a living wage;</li><li>work with suppliers to end discrimination against women; and</li><li>eliminate unfair trading practices that drive down the incomes and working conditions of producers and workers.</li></ul><p>And we look forward to the day when we can all shop safe in the knowledge that the men and women who put the food on our plates earn a decent income, work in safe conditions, and are treated fairly.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 3 July 2019 by Monica Romis. Monica is part of Oxfam GB’s Private Sector Team, and leads the Supermarket Scorecard for the Behind the Prices campaign.</em></p><p><em>Photo:&nbsp;Seafood worker. Credit: Adrian Mulya/TheSustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>How are supermarkets taking responsibility for ending human suffering in their food?</h2></div> Wed, 03 Jul 2019 15:25:23 +0000 Guest Blogger 82018 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-07-03-how-are-supermarkets-taking-responsibility-ending-human-suffering-their-food#comments Largest Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn takes action on human rights after Oxfam Novib campaign http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-02-21-dutch-supermarket-albert-heijn-takes-action-human-rights-oxfam-campaign <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Campaigning works.&nbsp;Following Oxfam Novib’s Behind the Barcodes campaign, <a href="https://www.ah.nl/" rel="nofollow">Albert Heijn</a> supermarket is introducing new policies on human rights and sustainability. The supermarket chain Jumbo and the parent company of Albert Heijn, Ahold Delhaize, still lag behind.</strong></p><p>Supermarket Albert Heijn commits that their new policy will bring big improvements on women rights, living wage and transparency about where products come from. Albert Heijn is the first supermarket in the world to make such far-reaching commitments following the Behind the Barcodes campaign from Oxfam Novib.</p><p><em>“In the last eight months we have been in intense negotiations with Albert Heijn. These commitments look promising.” - Michiel Servaes, Director, Oxfam Novib</em></p><p><strong>Fighting exploitation</strong></p><p>As part of the global <a href="https://www.behindthebarcodes.org/en/" rel="nofollow">Behind the Barcodes campaign</a>, which launched in June 2018, Oxfam Novib examines what supermarkets are doing to help solve issues around exploitation of workers in developing countries. In the Netherlands, Oxfam Novib focused on how the five biggest supermarkets (Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl, Aldi and Plus) treat workers and farmers in developing countries who produce our food.</p><p><em>“It’s good to see that Albert Heijn, the biggest Dutch supermarket, is finally taking responsibility for the people in their production chain, including those in developing countries. Albert Heijn shows that it’s possible.”</em><br><em>- Michiel Servaes, Director Oxfam Novib</em></p><p><strong>New human rights commitments</strong></p><p>With this announcement, Albert Heijn commits to:</p><ul><li>prevent human rights violations and improve labour conditions</li><li>take responsibility for its own brand products, and later also for other brands</li><li>research living wage, women rights and labour conditions in consultation with local workers, farmers, labor unions and NGO’s.</li></ul><p><span>This is the first time that a&nbsp;Dutch&nbsp;supermarket has publicly&nbsp;committed&nbsp;to make human rights part of the standard training for its own buyers&nbsp;before the end of 2019.&nbsp;The company&nbsp;states that all current&nbsp;buyers&nbsp;will&nbsp;be required to&nbsp;complete&nbsp;the new training&nbsp;by 2020&nbsp;at the latest.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong>Keeping a close eye</strong></p><p>Oxfam Novib will monitor the new policy of Albert Heijn and check if Albert Heijn will indeed do what it has promised - because putting these promises into practice is will help take the suffering out of our food.</p><p><img alt="Oxfam Novib pushing Dutch supermarket Jumbo to end the suffering in its supply chains. Photo: Oxfam" title="Oxfam Novib pushing Dutch supermarket Jumbo to end the suffering in its supply chains. Photo: Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/akeerlijke-boodschappen9-jumbo-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Oxfam Novib campaigning for Dutch supermarket Jumbo to end the suffering in its supply chains. Credit: Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Jumbo and Ahold Delhaize lag behind</strong></p><p>Parent company <a href="https://www.aholddelhaize.com/en/home/" rel="nofollow">Ahold Delhaize</a> should follow its subsidiary. As the owner of both Albert Heijn and many other supermarkets around the world, their action would have an even bigger impact on the lives of farmers in developing countries.</p><p>Oxfam Novib hopes that other Dutch supermarkets, like <a href="https://www.jumbo.com/" rel="nofollow">Jumbo</a>, will follow the example of Albert Heijn. The negotiations with Jumbo to date have not resulted in any concrete commitments.</p><p><strong>You can help end the suffering in our food</strong></p><p>Oxfam Novib knows that this campaign will take a lot of patience.</p><p>We will keep on pushing the five biggest supermarkets in the Netherlands towards sustainable improvements in their supply chains.</p><p>We will continue to speak out against the exploitation of workers in developing countries, and against inequality and injustice.&nbsp;</p><p>We need your support for this.</p><p><a href="https://www.behindthebarcodes.org/en/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Join the movement to end the suffering in our food.</strong></a></p><p><em>This entry posted on 20 February 2019, by Tim Zijlstra, Oxfam Novib Campaigner.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Oxfam Novib campaigners hand over 23,000 signatures to Albert Heijn staff, as part of the Behind the Barcodes Campaign. Credit: Oxfam Novib</em></p><p><strong><em>Read more</em></strong></p><ul><li><strong><em>More on <a href="https://www.oxfamnovib.nl/kenniscentrum/blog-kenniscentrum/18499-albert-heijn-commits-to-become-a-leader-on-human-rights" rel="nofollow">Albert Heijn's commitments to become a leader on human rights</a></em></strong></li><li><strong><em>Read the Oxfam report: <a href="https://indepth.oxfam.org.uk/behind-the-price/" rel="nofollow">Ripe for Change: Ending human suffering in supermarket supply chains</a></em></strong></li><li><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/3302"><strong><em>More blogs on food justice</em></strong></a></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Largest Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn takes action on human rights after Oxfam Novib campaign</h2></div> Thu, 21 Feb 2019 16:35:26 +0000 Guest Blogger 81876 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-02-21-dutch-supermarket-albert-heijn-takes-action-human-rights-oxfam-campaign#comments A Workers' Rights Campaign Win in Honduras: Aldi Supplier Fyffes Recognizes Union http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-02-19-labor-rights-campaign-win-honduras-aldi-supplier-fyffes-recognizes-union <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Poverty wages, toxic pesticides, harassment: to fight these bad working conditions on melon plantations in Honduras, Fyffes workers organized in a union - and were fired. For years we protested. Now we can tell you: our protest works!</strong><br> <br>Sitting on the shelves of Aldi Nord supermarkets in Germany are melons grown in Honduras by a subsidiary of the fruit company Fyffes. But employees there work under sometimes catastrophic conditions.</p><p>As well as being exposed to dangerous pesticides, minimum wages and social contributions have not been paid. Workers who tried to defend their rights with the STAS union (<a href="http://festagro.org/?page_id=1641" rel="nofollow">Sindicato de Trabajadores de Agroindustria y Similares</a>) were threatened, harassed or dismissed.</p><p><strong>It took Fyffes two years to recognize basic human rights</strong></p><p>In the meantime, we have been protesting: Oxfam supporters wrote 8,000 e-mails to Aldi, calling on the supermarket giant to ask Fyffes to change its policy. In addition, Oxfam had several meetings with the management of the Irish fruit company.</p><p><strong>Worldwide, allies like the International Union of Food, Farm and Hotel Workers (IUF) have stood in solidarity</strong> with the Honduran trade union STAS. In December, Fyffes <a href="http://www.iuf.org/w/?q=node/6651" rel="nofollow">lost their Fairtrade USA certificate</a> and have also lost prestigious memberships including to the Ethical Trading Initiative for Better Working Conditions.</p><p>This concerted joint effort is paying off: Fyffes has finally recognized the Honduran union STAS and begun negotiations with fired union members.</p><p><strong>Finally, decent working conditions</strong></p><p>The move gives us hope that the anti-union policy will come to an end and that hundreds of melon workers will now benefit from decent working conditions.</p><p>We will continue to monitor Fyffes and to campaign for the rights of the workers. But this success must be celebrated - thank you to all who took action with us!</p><p><strong>What you can do now</strong></p><ul><li><strong>Read more <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/3302">blogs on the fight for justice in our food supply chains</a>.</strong></li><li><strong>Read more and <a href="https://www.oxfam.de/ueber-uns/aktuelles/2019-02-06-erfolg-aldi-zulieferer-fyffes-erkennt-gewerkschaft" rel="nofollow">keep up to date with Oxfam Germany’s actions.</a></strong></li><li><a href="https://www.behindtheprice.org/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Join the movement to end human suffering in our food.</strong></a></li></ul><p></p><p><em>This entry posted on 18 February 2019, by Christin Becker, Oxfam Campaign Coordinator.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Workers at Aldi's Fyffes plant in Honduras protesting against discrimination and calling for respect for labor rights on the plantations. Credit: Giorgio Trucchi/REL-UITA</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>A Workers&#039; Rights Campaign Win in Honduras: Aldi Supplier Fyffes Recognizes Union</h2></div> Tue, 19 Feb 2019 12:43:14 +0000 Guest Blogger 81875 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-02-19-labor-rights-campaign-win-honduras-aldi-supplier-fyffes-recognizes-union#comments Five Inspirational Quotes about Food, Hunger and Changing the World http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-10-15-world-food-day-honor-hands-harvest-your-crops <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Today, 16 October is World Food Day. Did you even know that was a thing? And although it might be a moment to celebrate the food we eat, it’s also a good moment to stop and think about the people who grow it.</strong></p><p>Millions of people who produce our food work for poverty wages, often in awful conditions. Women face lower pay, insecure contracts and harassment at work. And too many of these farmers and food workers don’t even have enough to eat themselves.</p><p><strong>But it doesn’t have to be this way;</strong> within our lifetime, we can create a world where no one will have to live in extreme poverty or work in degrading, inhumane conditions. Change is possible – and like our knives and forks – it’s in our hands. If we join together as shoppers, farmers and food workers across the world we can force food companies and governments to listen.</p><p>Momentum is building. Just last month, supermarket chain <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/1049240542838738945" rel="nofollow">Lidl announced it would sell only Fairtrade bananas</a> in its 3,000 stores in Germany. And <a href="https://www.behindtheprice.org/en/" rel="nofollow">more than 230,000 people</a> from 108 countries have already joined the call to end human suffering in our food. This pressure will help push supermarkets worldwide to honour the hands that harvest our crops.</p><p><strong>So today, on World Food Day, let’s keep that momentum going.</strong></p><p>Enjoy these quotes on food, hunger and changing the world - and share them with your friends to inspire them, too.</p><p><img alt="“Honor the hands that harvest your crops.” - Dolores Huerta" title="“Honor the hands that harvest your crops.” - Dolores Huerta" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-wfd-quote1-1200.jpg" /></p><p><strong>Dolores Huerta</strong> is a labour organizer and feminist from the USA. With Cesar Chavez she co-founded the <a href="https://ufw.org/" rel="nofollow">United Farm Workers Union</a> to stand up for farm workers’ rights.</p><p>Over more than 50 years she has led and won countless struggles for union rights, better wages and working conditions, and women’s rights.</p><p><img alt="&quot;The fight is never about grapes or lettuce, it&#039;s always about people.&quot; - Cesar Chavez" title="&quot;The fight is never about grapes or lettuce, it&#039;s always about people.&quot; - Cesar Chavez" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-wfd-quote2-1200.jpg" /></p><p><strong>Cesar Chavez</strong> dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of farm workers in the US, many of whom were migrants working in terrible conditions and facing discrimination. As co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union, he used nonviolent tactics like boycotts, and strikes to focus attention on the problems faced by farm workers and win important rights.<br>&nbsp;<br><img alt="&quot;Why should there be hunger and deprivation?&quot; - Martin Luther King" title="&quot;Why should there be hunger and deprivation?&quot; - Martin Luther King" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-wfd-quote3-1200-mlk.jpg" /><br>&nbsp;<br><strong>Martin Luther King</strong> needs no introduction. As well as leading the civil rights movement, he spoke out against hunger and poverty in the US and beyond.</p><p><img alt="&quot;Recognize that the world is hungry for action, not words.&quot; - Nelson Mandela" title="&quot;Recognize that the world is hungry for action, not words.&quot; - Nelson Mandela" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-wfd-quote4-1200-mandela.jpg" /></p><p>Finally, a quote from <strong>anti-apartheid revolutionary and former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela</strong>. His actions and his words continue to inspire people across the world.<br><br>Feeling ready to help end human suffering in our food?</p><p><strong>You can start by taking action here <a href="http://www.behindtheprice.org/" rel="nofollow">www.behindtheprice.org</a>. </strong>What are you waiting for? :)<strong><br></strong></p><p><strong><img alt="&quot;Every minute is a chance to change the world.&quot; - Dolores Huerta" title="&quot;Every minute is a chance to change the world.&quot; - Dolores Huerta" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="5" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-wfd-quote5-1200-dolores.jpg" /></strong> <br><em>This entry posted on 15 October 2018, by Georgi York, Public Campaign Lead - Oxfam's GROW campaign.</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Five Inspirational Quotes about Food, Hunger and Changing the World</h2></div> Tue, 16 Oct 2018 08:08:01 +0000 Georgi York 81740 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-10-15-world-food-day-honor-hands-harvest-your-crops#comments From Zero to Heroine: 4 ways supermarkets can better support women http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-08-15-zero-heroine-4-ways-supermarkets-can-better-support-women <div class="field field-name-body"><p>In my <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-07-30-life-toil-women-seafood-industry">previous blog</a>, I highlighted some of the key issues faced by women workers in the seafood sector in Southeast Asia. Gender inequality can be hidden deep inside many of the world’s leading supply chains. Women are being paid poverty-level wages and enduring unsafe and degrading working conditions while struggling to put food on the table for their families.</p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/behindtheprice" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam’s global campaign</strong></a> asks the world’s most powerful supermarkets to do more to end human suffering in the food we buy. Oxfam’s supermarkets scorecard reveals that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/behindtheprice/scorecard" rel="nofollow">twelve out of the sixteen assessed supermarkets scored ‘zero’</a> for their gender policy. Even supermarkets that consumers trust for their ethical sourcing, like Whole Foods, are amongst those who failed to score on Oxfam’s gender indicators.</p><h3>Raise gender issues</h3><p>A <a href="https://wsi-asso.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WSI-Survey-2018.pdf" rel="nofollow">recent global survey</a> published in July 2018 by the International Organization for Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI) validated several key issues faced by women workers in the industry. The survey documented gender-based discrimination for women in the sector – ranging from unfavorable working conditions, to discrimination and unequal opportunities for women. Globally, the survey found that 58% of respondents said that gender issues are not talked about in their organization.</p><p><strong>This lack of gender awareness</strong> means that senior executives, who are typically men, often neglect to think about additional challenges faced by women when making strategic decisions. This highlights the need to start a discussion and to build awareness to change the ‘Tone at the Top’ on important gender issues.</p><p>Moreover, we need to distinguish between progressive companies, who follow through with their commitments, and those who are merely paying lip service.</p><p><img alt="Activists demonstrate outside a Whole Foods in Boston as part of the launch of Oxfam&#039;s Behind the Barcodes campaign. Credit: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam" title="Activists demonstrate outside a Whole Foods in Boston as part of the launch of Oxfam&#039;s Behind the Barcodes campaign. Credit: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/whole-food-1-1240x680.jpg" /></p><p><em>Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside a Whole Foods in Boston on June 21, 2018. Credit: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>So, how can supermarkets be gender-just?</strong></p><h3>1. Respect human rights</h3><p>First, supermarkets need to make commitments to respect human rights and enable women’s economic empowerment in their global supply chains. There are several effective ways to do this:</p><ul><li>Sign up to the <a href="http://www.weprinciples.org/Site/PrincipleOverview/" rel="nofollow">UN Women’s Economic Empowerment Principles</a> which set out a framework for women’s empowerment in the workplace, community and society. The principles promote and commit companies to putting gender equality as a strategic priority of business. Signatories commit to fair treatment of men and women at work and commit to respecting human rights. The Principles also commit companies to periodically report their progress on advancing gender equality.</li><li>Supermarkets’ senior executives need to publicly state their commitments to gender equality beyond their corporate office and expand these commitments throughout their global sourcing. Recently, <a href="https://hbr.org/2018/01/the-new-ceo-activists" rel="nofollow">CEOs are being more vocal</a> about public policy issues, and they should prioritize gender inequality as it is the root cause of countless social injustices in our society today.</li></ul><h3>2. Improve gender data and reporting</h3><p>Second, supermarkets need to improve their data collection, monitoring and reporting on gender issues that go beyond social audits. Companies should ensure supply chain mapping and social audits collect gender information – one important data is gender-aggregated wage information between male/female workers in their supply chains. This will allow the&nbsp; company to demonstrate that they are serious about closing the gender wage gap and have credible evidence to monitor progress.</p><h3>3. Promote women's organizing</h3><p>Third, supermarkets should actively commit to and promote women’s ability to organize themselves. In many countries, joining unions and worker organizing is still illegal and discouraged. An <a href="https://www.ethicaltrade.org/sites/default/files/shared_resources/guide_to_buying_responsibly.pdf" rel="nofollow">ETI/ILO survey</a> has shown that where supply chain workers organize in trade unions, they can dramatically boost their wages and cut working hours.</p><p>Women workers should be encouraged to participate and engage in leadership positions in unions. If the country’s labor laws are not conducive to worker organizing, supermarkets should actively leverage their influence to engage with national governments to improve regulations that will systematically benefit workers in their global supply chains.</p><h3>4. Collaborate</h3><p><strong>Finally, collaboration is a critical success factor</strong>. Supermarkets alone cannot eliminate gender injustice but should work with others to make further progress. Several levels of collaboration are needed:</p><ul><li>Collaborate with <strong>workers’ organizations</strong> in order to learn more about workers’ experiences;</li><li>Collaborate with <strong>women’s organizations</strong> to sharpen the focus on women’s issues;</li><li>Collaborate with <strong>national governments</strong>, at different levels, to influence public policy changes;</li><li>Collaborate with <strong>gender-just organizations</strong>, companies, NGOs and credible Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives which champion women’s empowerment and work towards the same goal.</li></ul><p><img alt="Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside a Whole Foods in Boston on June 21, 2018. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam" title="Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside a Whole Foods in Boston on June 21, 2018. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/whole-food-3-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Oxfam staff members stand up for the rights of seafood workers outside Whole Foods, in Boston, USA. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam</em></p><h3>A vision of equality</h3><p>Gender equality should be prioritized in supermarkets’ corporate vision and strategy, instead of being an afterthought. Gender injustice affects families, communities and both women and men.</p><p>Companies need to urgently step up their commitment to become more gender-just. There are certainly a number of small wins which could have a big impact, and there are long-term strategic benefits for all involved in our food systems.</p><p>There is a strong and compelling case for supermarkets to become gender-just and better support women. Now is the time to step up and make it happen.</p><p><strong>Human suffering should never be an ingredient in the food we buy. You can help. <a href="http://www.behindtheprice.org/" rel="nofollow">Sign the pledge.</a></strong></p><p><em>The entry posted by Art Prapha, Senior Advisor, Oxfam America, on 14 August 2018.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: The Lamongan auction site, the biggest shrimp auction in East Java, Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya/Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia</em></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>From Zero to Heroine: 4 ways supermarkets can better support women</h2></div> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 14:13:54 +0000 Guest Blogger 81679 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-08-15-zero-heroine-4-ways-supermarkets-can-better-support-women#comments A life of toil: Women in the seafood industry http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-07-30-life-toil-women-seafood-industry <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>A recent Oxfam report found that the most vulnerable group of people in our seafood supply chains are the women of Southeast Asia who day in, and day out process and package shrimp for the leading supermarkets across the world. They face appalling working conditions: lack of bathroom breaks, excessive work hours for far less than living wages.</strong></p><p>Most women workers in the seafood sector come from appalling poverty. <br><br>In Indonesia, women workers migrate from the poorest part of the country, where agricultural livelihoods are diminishing and can no longer sustain their living. In Thailand, most women workers are migrants from neighboring Myanmar and Cambodia.</p><p>Like all migrants, most are looking for a better quality of life and a better future for their family. But the reality of working in the seafood industry does not fulfill this promise.</p><h3>Women are hit the hardest</h3><p>Last month Oxfam launched a <a href="https://www.behindtheprice.org/" rel="nofollow">global campaign</a> to challenge the widening inequality in the world’s food supply chains. Oxfam’s <a href="https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/supermarket-responsibilities-for-supply-chain-workers-rights-continuing-challen-620480" rel="nofollow">latest report on worker’s rights</a> in the seafood sector shows that workers in seafood supply chains in Thailand and Indonesia are still reporting workers rights violations with women being amongst the most impacted, despite significant reform efforts by the governments, the industry and the international community.</p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/behindtheprice/scorecard" rel="nofollow">Oxfam’s latest supermarkets scorecard</a> shows that the majority of supermarkets (12 out of the 16 assessed) did not receive a single score for making commitments to empower women in their global supply chains.</p><p>Oxfam estimates that 80% of workers in the processing plants in Southeast Asia are made up of women. They mostly work in processing plants to peel, cook and pack shrimp for major export markets.</p><p><img alt="Chart of gender distribution in working roles. 2017 ILO workers survey" title="Chart of gender distribution in working roles. 2017 ILO workers survey" height="722" width="723" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/work-gender-distribution.jpg" /><br><em>Figure: Women and men work in distinct roles in shrimp supply chains, and this can result in differential income and treatment. For instance, 48% of women workers surveyed reported to have received the minimum wage and above (approx. THB 9,000/month) while 73% of men workers said they have received the minimum wage and above (according to the 2017 ILO workers survey).</em></p><h3>What are women working in seafood main concerns?</h3><p>After extensive interviews and consultations with women workers and NGO partners, here are the key concerns for the women workers in the seafood sector:</p><p><strong>1. Low pay, use of piece rates and excessive working hours</strong></p><p>According to the <a href="http://www.ilo.org/asia/publications/WCMS_619727/lang--en/index.htm" rel="nofollow">ILO 2017 survey in Thailand</a>, 48% of women workers reported to have received the minimum wage and above (approx. THB 9,000/month) while 73% of men workers said they have received the minimum wage and above.</p><p>In Indonesia, <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-06-27-behind-indonesias-seafood-sector-domins-fight-rights-women-workers">Domin Dhamayanti</a>, a human rights activist at Surabaya Institute of Labor Solidarity, said that women do not normally earn a minimum wage but are earning based on their shrimp peeling targets. To reach the minimum wage (which varies across different locations), women workers have to peel at least 900 shrimp/hour for a 9- or 10-hour work day). They are normally required to work 6 days a week and depending on the raw materials, they may be required to work on their day off as well.</p><p><strong>2. Unsafe, unsanitary and degrading working conditions</strong></p><p>Toilet breaks are major issues for women workers in Asia.</p><p>A large number of workers have to share a small number of toilets. Toilet breaks are only allowed twice a day (for an 9-hour shift) and workers are only allowed 10 – 15 minutes for toilet breaks. Many said that they usually have to queue up to use the facilities. They would be scolded by their supervisors or given warnings if they spent longer than 15 minutes during the toilet break.</p><p>Many women chose to abstain from drinking water or wait until their break to go to the toilet to avoid possible penalty. As well as the loss of dignity daily, this can also have long-term health consequences.</p><p><strong>3. Food insecurity</strong></p><p>This is perhaps the cruelest irony Oxfam came across during our research for the campaign – too many of the women and men who are producing our food said they normally go hungry or worry that they won’t be able to put food on the table.</p><p>To repeat that with statistics, over 90% of women factory workers surveyed said they worry they won’t have enough to eat after having worked for nearly 10 hours a day.</p><p>While shrimp are becoming cheaper to consumers in Europe and the US, a large number of men and women who are producing these cheap products too often go hungry.</p><p><strong>4. Lack of rights awareness and freedom of association</strong></p><p>Women workers have to endure policies that do not promote gender equality in their workplace, and often these come from the fact that there is no platform in which they can organize themselves or learn about their rights.</p><p>Recent research by the CSO Coalition in Thailand shows that most workers access information about their rights through national NGOs but the engagement between companies, NGOs and trade unions are considerably limited in many Asian countries.</p><p>In Thailand, <a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/standards/introduction-to-international-labour-standards/conventions-and-recommendations/lang--en/index.htm" rel="nofollow">ILO Conventions 87 and 98</a>, which promote freedom of association and collective bargaining, are still not ratified. This makes it even more challenging for workers to have a voice in their workplace.</p><h3>We can change this</h3><p>If you believe that human suffering should not be an ingredient in our food, <a href="https://www.behindtheprice.org/en/" rel="nofollow">you have the power to change this</a> – supermarkets care about what their consumers think.</p><p>Women and men who are producing food should not have to endure low wages, terrible working conditions and go hungry when they are producing our food.</p><p>Oxfam’s campaign is calling on all supermarkets to engage in radical transparency – to know and show what they are doing and to urgently address these problems in their global supply chains.</p><p><a href="https://www.behindtheprice.org/en/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Join the call to end human suffering in our food!</strong></a></p><p><img alt="End the human suffering in our food - cartoon." title="End the human suffering in our food - cartoon." height="1396" width="2048" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/cartoon-dutch-supermarket-behindtheprice_0.jpg" /></p><p><em>This entry posted by Art Prapha, Senior Advisor in the Private Sector Department, Oxfam America, on 25 July 2018.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Melati, seafood worker in Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya/The Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia</em></p><p><em>N.B.: This is part two of a two-part blog series – read also: How supermarkets can promote gender equality in their global supply chains.</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>A life of toil: Women in the seafood industry</h2></div> Mon, 30 Jul 2018 12:13:29 +0000 Guest Blogger 81663 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-07-30-life-toil-women-seafood-industry#comments Bold ambitions bring big responsibilities: Tackling the human suffering behind our food http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-07-18-bold-ambitions-bring-big-responsibilities-tackling-human-suffering-behind-our-food <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Oxfam welcomes <a href="http://www.inclsve.com/oxfam-report-indeed-ripe-for-change-that-is-by-oxfam-itself/#What_new" rel="nofollow">Roland Waardenburg’s blog</a> as his contribution to the debate around the issues we are putting forth in our <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/ripe-change" rel="nofollow">report Ripe for Change</a> and <a href="http://www.behindtheprice.org/" rel="nofollow">Behind the Barcodes campaign</a> provides us with an opportunity to explain our approach and theory of change.</p><h3>The Scorecard</h3><p>Our scorecard focuses on themes rather than specific supply chains because the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights sets out an expectation that companies respect human rights&nbsp; in their business operations and supply chains, regardless of where a product originates from or what ingredients it contains. Companies should strive to ensure that all products are free of human suffering and respect labor and human rights. Like other benchmarking tools (<a href="https://knowthechain.org/" rel="nofollow">Know the Chain</a>, <a href="https://www.corporatebenchmark.org/" rel="nofollow">Corporate Human Rights Benchmark</a>) our scorecard is based on international standards and expert input which recognize that there are systemic issues at play which require a range of actors to play a role in tackling them. This is why we also have included recommendations to governments in our report, for example.</p><h3>Transparent methodology</h3><p>In his blog Mr. Waardenburg’s suggests that our research and methodology are not transparent. <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/behindtheprice/scorecard" rel="nofollow">Oxfam’s scorecard</a> can be viewed on our website in two ways. One with <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/behindtheprice/scorecard" rel="nofollow">final scores </a>in the themes, which is meant to engage consumers and the other for those wanting to <a href="http://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/oxfam/bitstream/10546/620478/3/db-supermarkets-scorecard-data-210618-en.xlsx" rel="nofollow">understand the data</a> on which we based the scores. The methodology we used for our scorecard, our research and launch report, case studies and calculation for our killer facts can all be found in a <a href="https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/620478/tb-ripe-for-change-methodology-note-210618-en.pdf;jsessionid=E182AC559765954500062260A9255C4A?sequence=1" rel="nofollow">methodology report </a>on our website as well.</p><h3>Corporate responsibility</h3><p>Mr. Waardenburg suggests that brands have as much a responsibility for products on supermarket shelves as the supermarkets. Oxfam agrees, it is why we launched our <a href="https://www.behindthebrands.org/" rel="nofollow">Behind the Brands</a> campaign in 2013 with a similar approach and together with supporters achieved ground-breaking commitments on supply chain issues involving land, climate change and women’s empowerment. In fact, that campaign was the impetus for launching <a href="http://www.behindtheprice.org/" rel="nofollow">Behind the Barcodes</a>, to bring another powerful range of stakeholders into the scope of our research and public engagement.</p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gg2oj40BUsk" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><h3>Human rights</h3><p>The food retailers’ business model, size and complex operations or supply chains can never be&nbsp; an excuse to tolerate human rights violations. The UNGPs clearly apply in this context and no company with which we have engaged has suggested that they do not have a responsibility to respect human rights in their supply chains. In fact, some retailers have publicly acknowledged this responsibility and are already taking steps.&nbsp; But a first step in solving these issues is committing to meaningfully engaging with the stakeholders in the supply chains through a comprehensive due diligence process and putting a plan forward to address the issues.</p><h3>Consumers and sustainability</h3><p>Retailers can contribute to improvements in sustainability both as owners of private label brands and as buyers of premium brand products. Retailers have a choice of what premium brands they source, where they place these on their shelves and how they market these. As such, they can significantly influence the choice of consumers and educate them on how products are being grown and produced.</p><h3>Certification</h3><p>While certification can provide solutions to some of the sustainability challenges of today, the responsibility to ensure human rights are respected remains with those companies who source the food we all consume as well as the companies in their supply chain. For a more detailed review of Oxfam’s take on the role of certification, please refer to page 86 in our report <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/ripe-change" rel="nofollow">Ripe for Change</a>.</p><h3>A living income</h3><p>Mr. Waardenburg also questioned Oxfam’s data on the living income of cocoa farmers. For an explanation of that data we have partnered with the Voice Network which regularly produces the Cocoa Barometer, in a blog: <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2018/07/what-is-the-living-income-gap-for-cocoa-farmers-in-cote-divoire/" rel="nofollow">What is the living income gap for cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire?</a></p><h3>A critical effort</h3><p>Finally, with this campaign, Oxfam is embarking on a multi-year effort to address human rights in food supply chains, during which we will regularly update our data.</p><p>We have listened to Mr. Waardenburg’s critical comments and will take them on board as we develop the campaign over the years. We invite him to actively engage with us in the future so we can all work to ensure our food is not tainted by human suffering.</p><p><em>The entry posted on 18 July 2018, by <em> Irit Tamir, Director of Oxfam America's Private Sector Department.</em><br></em></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Bold ambitions bring big responsibilities: Tackling the human suffering behind our food</h2></div> Wed, 18 Jul 2018 13:53:36 +0000 Irit Tamir 81649 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-07-18-bold-ambitions-bring-big-responsibilities-tackling-human-suffering-behind-our-food#comments 4 critical ways global seafood retailers can give their consumers confidence http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-07-03-4-critical-ways-global-seafood-retailers-can-give-their-consumers-confidence <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>With forced labor and workers’ rights violations alive and widespread in the Thai and Indonesian seafood industry - which supply so much of our seafood globally - how can supermarkets give consumers the confidence that there's no human suffering in the food they buy? Art Prapha, Senior Advisor for the Private Sector, Oxfam America, provides an insightful 4-step plan.</strong></p><p>In recent years the <a href="https://www.ap.org/explore/seafood-from-slaves/ap-investigation-slaves-may-have-caught-the-fish-you-bought.html" rel="nofollow">exposé of labor scandals</a> in the Thai seafood sector has sent shockwaves through the industry and around the world. Consumers in Europe and the US have made clear they are not willing to purchase prawns and seafood products from supply chains tainted with modern-day slavery and other serious workers’ rights abuses.</p><p>This public outrage, along with international pressure from the European Union and the US Government, has placed huge pressure on seafood actors to rectify the situation. A wide range of stakeholders have come together to try and address human rights and environmental sustainability in the Thai seafood industry.</p><p>However, Oxfam’s latest report, <a href="https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/supermarket-responsibilities-for-supply-chain-workers-rights-continuing-challen-620480" rel="nofollow">Supermarket responsibilities for supply chain worker's rights</a>, shows that, despite significant reform efforts, some forms of forced labor and workers’ rights violations are still alive and widespread in the Thai and Indonesian seafood industry. This means that seafood products sold in many supermarkets in the US and Europe are still tainted as far as consumers are concerned. The report calls for global supermarkets, as major buyers of seafood products, to do more by strengthening their sourcing policies and practice to ensure that workers’ rights are protected around the world.</p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gg2oj40BUsk" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><p>One notable example of retailers’ efforts to date is the <a href="http://www.seafoodtaskforce.global/" rel="nofollow">Global Seafood Task Force</a>, an international industry alliance of retailers and suppliers seeking to collaborate on addressing social and environmental issues in the industry. The Task Force has worked on improving traceability, developing an industry Code of Conduct, and influencing the Thai government to reform outdated national laws. However, over the past few years, retailers have omitted a crucial element - meaningful engagement with the frontline NGOs who work directly with workers and communities.</p><p>This missed opportunity has had unintended but predictable consequences. Reforms and initiatives that retailers and suppliers have put in place struggle to deliver real change on the ground, especially when it comes to issues around recruitment fees, employment conditions, effective grievance mechanisms, workers’ rights to freely associate and to form collective bargaining units, and the lack of communication channels with the most vulnerable groups in their seafood supply chains, including women.</p><p>In short, the retailers effectively adopted a ‘top-down’ and hierarchical approach and did not take time to listen to the people affected or consider questions like ‘What involvement of workers and their advocates do we need for our interventions to be successful?’ and more simply ‘What do exploited workers and communities need from us?’</p><h3>Time for radical retailer engagement</h3><p>I believe the time for a more radical engagement by retailers is overdue, if interventions are to create impactful and sustainable change. Major supermarkets and buyers need to urgently start a dialogue and learn about the political, social, and economic challenges faced by workers and communities who produce and supply their products. This critical responsibility will ensure that retailers are investing in initiatives that produce results and building relationships based on mutual purpose and respect.</p><p>For international retailers who are interested in engaging with national NGOs and trade unions, I propose a four-step engagement process:</p><h3>1. Reach out and dialogue</h3><p>This may sound simple but it will prove to be the most effective way for retailers to show they are serious about finding out the real issues and to hear the societal expectations of their companies’ management over their supply chain. This will enable retailers to review capacity gaps and to show their genuine interest in collaborating more directly with national partners. Supermarkets need to be clear about what they would like to achieve – but a leading question could be framed as, “How can we, as retailers, be more helpful in tackling these problems?” Supermarkets need to listen deeply to the responses.</p><h3>2. Help to protect civil society space</h3><p>With rising authoritarianism in many countries where supermarkets source products, supermarkets should take note of the closing civil society space in these places. NGOs’ licenses to operate and civic space are being threatened, and many human rights defenders are being subjected to SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) with defamation and criminal charges. Supermarkets should play a greater role in creating a collective network, both nationally and internationally, and provide support when human rights defenders are being threatened to remain silent.</p><h3>3. Be patient</h3><p>Be patient as NGOs develop capacity and capability to engage with companies – this has been a major concern from many global retailers from the very beginning. Many retailers feel that national NGOs do not have sufficient skills and capacity, research, governance and advocacy to deliver and so retailers have avoided any kind of engagement. This ‘avoid-at-all-cost’ mentality should be challenged: as the capacity and capability of national NGOs grow, retailers will benefit from this in the medium and long-run, and indeed they can help them grow through effective dialogue.</p><h3>4. Facilitate access to suppliers’ and their operations</h3><p>Many national NGOs have told me that one useful way to leverage the ‘power of retailers’ is to facilitate and enable their suppliers to allow third-party NGOs to talk directly to their workers. Workers are often too afraid to voice their real concerns to their employers (suppliers) as they fear retaliation or even being fired.</p><p>The lack of genuine worker voice mechanisms in most factories and other workplaces has prevented problems from being identified. National NGOs are well-placed to collect this information, confidentially, through workshops and trusted safe spaces for workers to have these crucial conversations. This process should be seen as complementing the social audits undertaken by companies. Triangulating findings in this way is essential for due diligence processes to be robust.</p><h3>Giving consumers confidence</h3><p>This four-step engagement plan should enable global retailers to take their first steps to play a more critical, and more importantly, more direct role to engage with workers and communities.</p><p>It will enable retailers to have more clarity on how they can help to solve these very complex social and environmental challenges, and give consumers the confidence to buy their products long into the future.</p><h3>What you can do</h3><p><strong><a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/behindtheprice">Call on supermarkets now</a> to help end the human suffering behind the food we buy!</strong></p><p><em>This entry posted by Art Prapha, Senior Advisor in the Private Sector Department, Oxfam America, on 3 July 2018.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Sorting shrimp at the trader’s warehouse, Lamongan auction site, East Java, Indonesia. Credit: Kemal Jufri/Oxfam<br></em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>4 critical ways global seafood retailers can give their consumers confidence</h2></div> Tue, 03 Jul 2018 13:38:47 +0000 Guest Blogger 81633 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-07-03-4-critical-ways-global-seafood-retailers-can-give-their-consumers-confidence#comments Behind Indonesia's seafood sector: Domin's fight for the rights of women workers http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-06-27-behind-indonesias-seafood-sector-domins-fight-rights-women-workers <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Millions of farmers and workers who produce the food we all eat are forced to work long hours in inhumane conditions. The burden of this injustice falls more heavily on women, who face discrimination, get paid less than men and are denied the same basic human and legal rights. Read this inspiring story of one woman's intense commitment to fight for the rights of women workers in Indonesia's seafood sector - meet Domin Dhamayanti.</strong></p><p>The bright and colorful space with tiny yellow chairs, books and singing children is not quite what you expect when visiting a committed human rights group.</p><p>The Surabaya Institute of Labor Solidarity’s one room office is located at the back of a daycare center, where women workers bring their kids before their shift at one of the huge seafood factories in the city.</p><h3>This is where the relationship of trust with the workers begins.</h3><p>Barefoot and sipping on a coffee, Domin Dhamayanti might appear a marked contrast to the seafood companies she and her organization have taken on multiple times in the past few years.</p><p>“The big seafood companies here are very powerful. But we have the women’s trust, and they have no one else. There’s no way we will give up.”</p><p>She speaks softly, but with a passion and commitment that is unquestionable.</p><p>After spending more than 14 years working to improve the rights of workers in Indonesia, Domin explains, with no sense of irony in her voice, that her favorite food is vegetables and seafood. "Especially shrimp! I really mean it!"</p><h3>Her commitment to the labor movement is in her blood.</h3><p>Growing up in a family of workers in service sectors, she saw firsthand the conditions they face – and as she states, this isn't uncommon. "Almost everyone in Indonesia is a worker or is connected to them."</p><p>Domin lists examples where workers have succeeded in standing up for their rights. Campaigns for workers’ rights to take collective action at famous brands like Puma, Nike and Adidas show that things can change to improve workers' lives in supply chains.</p><p>"There is nothing wrong with being a worker - <strong>what is wrong is when workers' rights are taken</strong>. When rights are taken away, so is the ability to lead a dignified life.”</p><p>She speaks as the leader of the Surabaya Institute of Labor Solidarity (ISBS) which supports workers to understand and campaign for their rights. Her drive comes from her life experience – at a young age, she felt compelled to get involved and started living in a boarding-house with workers to see the conditions they face on a daily basis.</p><p><img alt="Budi, a female worker in the shrimp industry, Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya" title="Budi, a female worker in the shrimp industry, Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/16257lpr-budi-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Budi, 28, a female worker in Indonesia's shrimp industry. To earn the minimum wage, Budi often skips lunches and toilet breaks and works an hour of unpaid overtime every day, so she can try and meet her target for peeling shrimps.&nbsp;Credit: Adrian Mulya</em></p><h3>Women workers are most vulnerable.</h3><p>Domin explains some of the biggest challenges many female workers face.</p><p>"Women workers in Indonesia are in the most vulnerable position," she says. "Women workers tend to earn lower wages and are excluded from the government’s health and labor insurance programs."</p><p>In terms of welfare, women working in the seafood sector are overwhelming concentrated in the worst conditions, with very little job security and inadequate health, physical and psychological protection. Often, they have no maternity leave, which means they have to return to work soon after giving birth and have to stop breastfeeding. Sometimes they are not able to change sanitary napkins (if they can afford them at all), during their shifts. They don’t always have proper protective equipment when handling dangerous chemicals. Active participation of women workers in trade unions is also low.</p><p>This is why her organization is part of the <a href="https://www.dibalikbarcode.org/" rel="nofollow">Indonesian Sustainable Seafood Alliance</a>, organizations who have come together with workers in the seafood industry to campaign for their rights.</p><h3>Domin and her team have dedicated their lives to achieving change.</h3><p>"One of the basic principles of organizing is listening.” It is amazing to see what can happen when workers build a community and try to make changes together.</p><p>“We call this community ‘Buruh Perempuan Inspiratif’ (which translates to inspired women workers’). We create the space for workers to tell you as much as possible, because workers, especially women, have a lot on their minds and they need to share and work through it all. This can happen in many ways - with casual conversation, singing, drawing, dancing. We see that by the end of it they become much more confident, and realize that they have a community. Then we start to talk about work, and together we work through the problems and how we can change them."</p><h3>Sometimes, a conversation is all it takes for change to start.</h3><p>Domin goes on to explain how ISBS ensures everything it does is for the benefit of the workers.&nbsp; "In our organization the most important values are those of solidarity and that all humans should live in dignity.” She is clear that looking after workers should be the priority for businesses. “We also help workers understand that their lives are more important than money – which means everything done in the business world should consider the human rights."</p><p><strong>And she's not going to give up without a fight.</strong></p><p>“Despite the risks of speaking out, I have come to know real solidarity from those I have worked alongside, and there's no question in my mind about continuing this fight."</p><p><em>This entry posted by Cassie Eades, Oxfam Global Campaigner - Food and Climate Change, on 27 June 2018.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Women's rights activist Domin Dhamayanti, at Surabaya Institute of Labor Solidarity’s office, Indonesia. Credit: Adrian Mulya/Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wHncwjRQHN4" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Behind Indonesia&#039;s seafood sector: Domin&#039;s fight for the rights of women workers</h2></div> Wed, 27 Jun 2018 15:30:48 +0000 Cassie Eades 81618 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-06-27-behind-indonesias-seafood-sector-domins-fight-rights-women-workers#comments