Women in global supply chains
Women are critical to agriculture, yet powerful global companies are failing to develop and implement policies to address gender inequality. This is particularly the case for supply chains that run through developing countries. In February 2013, Oxfam launched a campaign, “Behind the Brands”, which focused on the sourcing policies and commitments of the world’s ten largest food and beverage companies (“the Big 10”). Through a combination of public campaigning, investor engagement and direct advocacy with the companies and the broader industry, Oxfam’s campaign was successful in bringing about a range of commitments that can help address the injustices many women in supply chains face. It leveraged a scorecard, which was a useful tool to channel these discussions and engage key stakeholders on issues relating to steps companies can take to empower women. It also helped trigger a race to the top among companies operating in an industry often defined by competition. Overall, Oxfam’s campaign shows the importance of a detailed understanding of the power structures and incentives for change in any campaign target. Building the campaign strategy on this understanding, leveraging the right tools (e.g. a scorecard) and adopting the most effective tone was critical to success.