At the start of the Green Week in Berlin, several German food retailers have announced that they want to support living wages for farmers in global supply chains. Representatives from Aldi, Lidl, Kaufland, Rewe, DM and Tegut want to sign a corresponding voluntary declaration together with Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU).
According to the paper, the companies want to contribute to "enabling farming and working families in global supply chains to have a decent standard of living". First, the companies want to limit themselves to the production of their own brands. Their supply chains should become more transparent.
Tracing should be possible from the plantation to the supplier. The companies also want to see whether human rights are respected in the manufacture of their products. The Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) is to coordinate the working group. Supermarket chains are repeatedly criticized for low food prices.
According to Minister Müller, seven large German supermarket chains are now committed to living wages in their supply chains: "It is good that there is movement in the food trade." This also shows that consumer pressure is working. More and more consumers wanted to know how their food is produced. "The seven pioneering companies recognize for the first time that low incomes are a major challenge and living wages are urgent than ever," said Müller.
Farmers in developing countries have to receive significantly more of the added value, said the CSU politician. Living income should become the standard: "The goal is clear: 100 percent fair supermarket." The trade must now go beyond this commitment and implement further steps towards fair supply chains.
Cornerstones for a supply chain law come
The development minister and federal labor minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) want to present key points for a supply chain law to respect human rights in the next four weeks. That announced Müller this week. The law should apply to all German companies with at least 500 employees. However, this size threshold should still be discussed as well as the level of sanctions for violations. Sanctions should definitely be enshrined in such a law, said Müller. Company voluntariness alone does not lead to the goal.
Around the Green Week agricultural fair, German farmers are also demanding better working conditions and fair prices for their products. For this Friday the alliance "Land creates connection" has announced demonstrations with tractors in Berlin and other German cities such as Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Hanover. Traffic disabilities are expected.
Greens boss Robert Habeck expressed understanding for the anger of the farmers. They suffered from the agricultural system. "The EU funding policy and the export orientation of the economy rely on the fact that they produce more and more at ever lower prices," said Habeck to the "Redaction network Germany". Every regulation reduces farmers' income. "Farmers are being crushed. But the answer, less climate protection or animal welfare, would be wrong." Habeck warned a matter-of-fact tone: "However, you cannot get ahead with moral arrogance towards the farmers."