A man waits to refill his medical oxygen cylinder for the Covid-19 coronavirus patient under home quarantine at a private refill centre in New Delhi on May 4, 2021.
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Better jobs in better supply chains

This is the fifth in a series of Briefings for Business that Oxfam has published recently, the purpose of which is to offer ideas and insights into topical poverty issues and what they mean for business.

Oxfam believes business plays a key role in poverty reduction by creating jobs that enable people to work their way out of poverty. There is a growing body of evidence that better labour standards also benefit business by boosting sales, staff recruitment and retention, and supply chain productivity. Sustainable, green and ethical are moving from the margins to the mainstream. Is your business prepared?

Better Jobs in Better Supply Chains sets out two key labour issues based on Oxfam’s current analysis and two business behaviours that hinder rather than help. In each case the issue is explored and the benefits of addressing them are identified.

The four issues highlighted are:

  • Precarious work and poverty wages
  • Weak relations between management and workers
  • Purchasing practices that undermine labour standards, and
  • Over-reliance on audits

Leading companies, working with NGOs and trade unions, have started to tackle the root causes of poor standards. Case studies are included on initiatives by Adidas, Next, Marks & Spencer, ASDA George, Danone, McDonalds and many other companies.

There is a tool to help you benchmark your company, a section on emerging issues and a list of resources.

Oxfam invites you to tell us about other initiatives in these areas, which we will collate and publish on our website in the Autumn.



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Publication type

Briefing paper

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