retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Business Insider reports that "a new Oxfam report grades Walmart highest and Amazon-owned Whole Foods lowest on workers' rights issues throughout the supply chain … Oxfam 's report reflects increasing criticism against Whole Foods and Amazon, while Walmart sheds its reputation as the biggest villain in retail."

The story goes on: "While Whole Foods has long been an industry leader on fair-trade-certified goods, it failed to meet most of the markers examined by Oxfam. Walmart earned points for things such as publishing labor rights policies for its supply chain and making a specific commitment to support small-scale farmers, both things that Whole Foods has failed to do."

And, Business Insider writes: "Whole Foods and its parent company, Amazon, have faced controversy around their treatment of workers. Whole Foods recently faced backlash after Business Insider reported last month that it plans to cut benefits for part-time workers in 2020. Amazon has also been criticized for the working conditions of its warehouse workers and delivery drivers."

In a statement, Whole Foods responded that the report "does not accurately reflect Whole Foods Market's long-standing efforts to address human rights and labor issues in our supply chain."
KC's View:
These things matter, and will only matter more to consumers who are engaged with such issues and care about not just value, but the values of the companies with which they do business. That said, there's something that seems out of synch here … when I compare the demeanor, attitudes and general apparent effectiveness of the folks who work at the local Walmart with those of the people who work at my local Whole Foods, it is hard to imagine that the latter ones are the most ill-treated.

But this is completely anecdotal, and these observations can't be applied to the entire universe of stores and warehouses.