Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the global landscape of the food retail industry has dramatically shifted. There is now greater awareness of how wealth and gender inequalities have been exacerbated; the power of workers in the United States (US) has been awakened; the vulnerability of global supply chains has been exposed; big retailers are competing in technology adoption; investors are demanding environmental, social and governance (ESG) information; and there has been legislative advancement towards mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD) law. Amidst these increasing pressures, major US supermarkets have continued to delay urgent actions needed to end exploitation of workers, women and farmers in their supply chains and retail operations. Key gaps include the lack of commitment to adopt a robust HRDD approach, lack of policies on workers’ rights at home and abroad, and the non-existence of gender policy in their business model. Failure to act now will result in irreversible impacts on workers, farmers and women – impacts that pose major risks to business continuity and supply chain resilience.
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