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Behind the Barcodes

END HUMAN SUFFERING BEHIND OUR FOOD.

Human suffering should never be an ingredient in the food we eat–yet millions of people who produce the food on our supermarket shelves are being treated inhumanely.

Pressure from supermarkets to keep costs low means that the people who process our food face harsh and degrading conditions on a daily basis, and receive wages that are sometimes so low they struggle to feed their families.

Oxfam launched our Behind the Barcodes campaign last year to examine the policies and practices of some of the biggest supermarkets around the world, and released a scorecard with our findings. We found that none of the supermarkets we analyzed were doing enough to ensure safe working conditions and livable pay for their workers in their global supply chains.

After challenging supermarket executives to make improvements, this year’s scorecard shows some are making incremental progress, but all are still not hitting the mark. Despite US supermarkets’ failure to ensure basic human rights, there is still hope. We’ve seen that consumer pressure works in helping to create real change. We must keep up the pressure to ensure supermarkets like Whole Foods take responsibility to stamp out human suffering behind their food.

The supermarket scorecard

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We analysed the supermarkets' policies and practices on human rights in their supply chains and asked whether supermarkets are transparent and accountable in the ways they ensure that workers' rights are respected, small-scale farmers are prosperous and resilient and the women who produce our food are treated fairly.

Three steps to a supermarket scorecard:

1. We examined supermarkets' policies and practices

2. Looked for behaviour that protects workers, farmers and women

3. Gave each supermarket a total score out of 100%

 
1907
1908
Walmart
17%
23% 6%

TRANSPARENCY

21%(SCORED 5 OUT OF 24)

WORKERS

21%(SCORED 5 OUT OF 24)

FARMERS

17%(SCORED 4 OUT OF 24)

WOMEN

33%(SCORED 7 OUT OF 21)

Giant/Stop & Shop
5%
17% 12%

TRANSPARENCY

19%(SCORED 4.5 OUT OF 24)

WORKERS

17%(SCORED 4 OUT OF 24)

FARMERS

19%(SCORED 4.5 OUT OF 24)

WOMEN

14%(SCORED 3 OUT OF 21)

Costco
6%
10% 4%

TRANSPARENCY

8%(SCORED 2 OUT OF 24)

WORKERS

21%(SCORED 8 OUT OF 24)

FARMERS

8%(SCORED 2 OUT OF 24)

WOMEN

0%(SCORED 0 OUT OF 21)

Albertsons
8%
5% 3%

TRANSPARENCY

8%(SCORED 2 OUT OF 24)

WORKERS

8%(SCORED 2 OUT OF 24)

FARMERS

4%(SCORED 1 OUT OF 24)

WOMEN

0%(SCORED 0 OUT OF 21)

Kroger
0%
3% 3%

TRANSPARENCY

4%(SCORED 1 OUT OF 24)

WORKERS

4%(SCORED 1 OUT OF 24)

FARMERS

4%(SCORED 1 OUT OF 24)

WOMEN

0%(SCORED 0 OUT OF 21)

Whole Foods
2%
3% 1%

TRANSPARENCY

0%(SCORED 0 OUT OF 24)

WORKERS

4%(SCORED 1 OUT OF 24)

FARMERS

8%(SCORED 2 OUT OF 24)

WOMEN

0%(SCORED 0 OUT OF 21)

0-20%
21-40%
41-60%
61-80%
81-100%

You can help

As one of the biggest supermarkets in the country, Whole Foods has a responsibility to act. Because we are their customers, we have the power to demand the people behind the food in their stores are treated humanely. Act now to help end the human suffering behind our food. 

To Whole Foods:

Human suffering should never be an ingredient in the food we buy. Millions of farmers and workers who produce our food are forced to work long hours in inhumane conditions.

This has to stop. I pledge to stand with the people behind the barcodes and to call for: 

  • An end to inhumane and dangerous working conditions
  • Fair pay for workers and farmers
  • Safe and decent work for women

Together, we can end the human suffering behind the food we all eat.

Call on supermarkets to help end human suffering behind the food we all eat.

* denotes required field

Thank you for signing the pledge to end human suffering in the food we eat!

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