Oxfam International

Organisation
Oxfam International
Location
Type
Sector
Oxfam is an international confederation of 20 NGOs working with partners in over 90 countries to end the injustices that cause poverty.

A wide-ranging series of reports and personal accounts released by Oxfam International paint a grim picture of working conditions in the Asian frozen shrimp sector as part of an overall push to pressure supermarket chains into paying more attention and better treating their food suppliers.

  • In Ripe for Change: Ending Human Suffering in Supermarket Supply Chains. Oxfam reported that the world’s eight largest publicly owned supermarket chains, including Walmart and Whole Foods Market, generated nearly a trillion dollars in sales in 2016, including $22 billion in profits, of which $15bn were returned to shareholders. Just 5% of sales revenue is making it to the food producers.
  • Supermarket Responsibilities for Supply Chain Workers’ Rights. The group noted that wages are so low at seafood suppliers in Thailand that more than 60% of the women employed are food insecure and extensive overtime is routine. Among the suppliers in Indonesia, women reported working unpaid hours in order to hit targets of up to 19kg of shrimp peeled per hour of their shift, just to make the minimum wage. This means that workers peeling shrimp in Indonesia could earn less than €0.02 for peeling a 225g pack of shrimp that sells in a Dutch supermarket. Oxfam is using the study to help fuel its new Behind the Barcodes campaign to encourage consumers to pressure retailers.
  • Oxfam releases 2nd scoring of US & European supermarkets’ global food supply chains. 3 July 2019. Oxfam assessed 16 large supermarkets across the US and Europe on their policies and practices in their food supply chains. The supermarkets were assessed on publicly disclosed policies and practices in four key areas: supply chain transparency; conditions for workers; conditions for small-scale farmers; and tackling discrimination against women. The scores reveal overall the supermarkets are making slow progress to end human suffering in global supply chains, with particularly low scores in the theme on women.
  • Oxfam/Thai CSO Coalition Briefing Note: Impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on small scale producers and workers: perspective from Thailand’s seafood supply chain. 22 June 2020. The briefing note addresses the inadequate protection and support offered to workers and small producers with a set of policy recommendations for a wide range of stakeholders involved in the seafood and fishery sector including the national seafood exporters, vessel owners and global buyers.
  • Which supermarkets are doing the most to protect the rights of food workers? 30 June 2020. Oxfam, under its’ Behind the Barcode campaign, has for the third time assessed 16 US and European supermarkets. This highlights that no supermarket is doing enough to combat human suffering in those supply chains, despite progress over the past two years. Tesco remains top of scorecard and is first company to gain “green” rating on workers’ rights. Companies score lowest on their steps to protect women’s rights.

Significance for seafood businesses:

Not seafood-specific, but do work in this sector. Useful for awareness as an organisation working to support the industry, and improve governance, safety and welfare within the global seafood industry.


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