European supermarkets say no business with meat suppliers who exploit workers
- An investigation by a news outlet found allegations of exploitation of workers in meat factories across Europe
- The UK retailers said they followed the BRC’s anti-slavery protocols for supermarkets
- The British Retail Consortium said companies do carry out ethical audits of the suppliers
Leading European and UK supermarkets said that they will not do business with meat suppliers who exploit workers and don't follow the ethical practices at the workplace, reported The Gaurdian. The decision comes after an investigation conducted by the news outlet Guardian found several allegations of exploitation of workers in meat factories across Europe.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), a representative body for UK retailers, said companies do carry out ethical audits of the suppliers they work with and would act on any information received through whistleblowers and investigations.
"BRC members are committed to upholding high standards of welfare for all people who work in their supply chains through audits and evidence-based investigations. Any practices that fall short of their high standards will not be tolerated," said Andrew Opie, BRC’s director of food and sustainability
Food retail association Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel (CBL) in the Netherlands, the place where numerous allegations of migrant workers suffering abusive conditions were unveiled by the Guardian, said it was important to supermarkets in the country that safe and secure working conditions were present in their supply chains.
The body further added that it was also the responsibility of the government and law enforcement agencies at the national and European levels to ensure the prevention of such abuse.
"The Dutch supermarkets are continuously working on making their supply chains more sustainable, both in collaboration with supply chain partners, but also with NGOs, trade unions and the government," read a statement issued by CBL.
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"As an example, we have signed the international responsible business conduct agreement for the food products sector. As part of this agreement, we have been working over the last years on implementing due diligence following the UN guiding principles and OECD guidelines to increase transparency within our supply chains and mitigate among other human rights and social risks," the statement added.
The UK retailers in reaction to the report said they followed the BRC’s anti-slavery protocols for supermarkets responding to reported cases of forced labour, human trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of modern slavery in their supply chain.