What is it and why does it matter?
Providing decent, safe and secure working conditions for all workers, including migrant/casual workers; paying a fair wage; protecting worker's human rights such as the right to freedom of expression; treating all workers equally and not discriminating on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, religion or any other characteristic.
Critical focus for customers who rank this as a top tier issue. It covers several dimensions including just treatment, diversity and inclusion but then also areas like reskilling that aligns to sustainable practices.
Beyond direct employee welfare, areas like modern slavery and fair treatment for workers through the supply chain (migrant workers or poorer economies) are also in focus.
As a visible and emotive issue – opportunity for brands to ‘own’ and champion a specific issue, like Tony's Chocoloney has done (see signal).
Of consumers say products that are “fair to workers and suppliers” influence their grocery choice
While not a central topic for agenda setters there is an obvious link through to topics around the “Just Transition” and equipping people (through the supply chain) with sustainability-enabling skills and training. Sustainability leads see employee welfare as critical, wanting ‘healthy and happy’ employees. They also see employees as a critical stakeholder group for their broader sustainability agenda.
The key themes are:
- Diversity and Inclusion : Health (physical & wellbeing)
- Linked to the ‘People’ pillar within overarching sustainability structure –People:Planet:Profit
- Employees (attraction & retention) as a key stakeholder group
Perhaps surprisingly, buyers see employee welfare as a very important topic compared to others, suggesting greater opportunity for B2B communication of this topic. 87% cite it as important for their business, but it is less important as a decider for choosing suppliers, as 74% believe its important when choosing a supplier. It is less likely to resonate with Chinese/UAE buyers, while in Europe and US we are seeing more anti-slavery legislation in Western parliaments that could impact supply chains.
This issue does not resonate strongly with consumers as an aspect of sustainability. This is not to say that they don’t care about employee welfare, but their minds go elsewhere when they think about sustainability, towards more planetary health topics. Like with customers, the concept of “fairness” to workers and suppliers emerges more in developed Western European markets, e.g., Ireland.
80% of buyers in European markets and the US believe
it's important that suppliers are providing decent, safe and secure working conditions for all employees
Review the headline insights from the Global Food Sustainability Outlook research.Review the Insights & Implications