The story of the Behind the Barcodes campaign
Towards a fair and sustainable food production
To address poverty and inequality in the global food chain, Oxfam works at both sides of the supply chain: we campaign with supermarkets worldwide and we support small-scale producers and workers in developing countries. In June 2018 we launched Behind the Barcodes, urging supermarkets to improve the precarious working conditions in, among others, the shrimp supply chains in Indonesia and Thailand. Meanwhile, Oxfam works together with all actors in the South East Asian seafood supply chain, to make smallholders’ business models more sustainable and gender equitable.
Targeting supermarkets and seafood industries
In the Netherlands Behind the Barcodes focused on the two largest retailers: Albert Heijn and Jumbo. In its campaign Oxfam launched a media report describing inadequate policies and practices of both retailers and its suppliers. Oxfam aired a radio commercial, asking audiences to sign Oxfams petition targeting both supermarkets. To further drive petition sign ups, Oxfam shared a series of videos on social media, showing footage and testimonials of workers in the shrimp supply chains in Indonesia and Thailand.
What is behind the seafood sold in supermarkets?
An important feature putting pressure on the targets was a spoof of Albert Heijn’s popular magazine Allerhande sent to all our supporters. Following the campaign’s public pressure, both retailers published new human rights policies that include significant commitments in line with Oxfam’s recommendations and will set up a diligence process in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. For their private label products the supermarkets will publish information about their suppliers, and both retailers will do several human rights assessments per year. Oxfam will closely monitor the implementations of these significant policy steps.
Hear the voices of Thai and Indonesian seafood workers:
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Donors: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sida