ActionAid pressures Tesco on developing world wages with viral spoof

LONDON - ActionAid has launched a viral campaign spoofing Tesco's ads to encourage the supermarket giant to increase the wages it pays to overseas producers.

The viral, developed by digital marketing agency Nonsense, is part of the development charity's ‘Small change, big difference' campaign. It claims that for every £1.50 shoppers spend on South African apples at Tesco, just 8p goes to the farm workers that supply them.

ActionAid said that if Tesco paid its South African suppliers an additional 5p per kilo of apples it would be enough for them to earn a decent wage and to feed their children properly. 

The charity is asking consumers to either post 5p to Tesco's head office or hand it in to the manager of their local Tesco store to highlight the issue. It has also sent campaign cards to 40,000 supporters asking them to get involved with the campaign.

As the supermarket price wars deepen there is increasing concern that price cuts are being passed onto suppliers. In April the Competition Commission ruled in favour of a supermarket watchdog to oversee relations with suppliers and ActionAid is calling on Tesco, as the UK's largest supermarket, to lead the way and voluntarily sign up to the proposed scheme.

Tesco has said that it remains unconvinced on aspects of the proposal and fears it will prove counter-productive by increasing bureaucracy and costs to consumers. 

Tesco also disagrees with critics who sale its presence in developing countries worsens conditions for workers because it puts pressure on our suppliers to cut costs.

‘We believe that, in general, trading with these countries brings benefits to them and to the people who work in them - as China's extraordinary 20 years of export-led growth and poverty reduction have shown,' according to the company's corporate social responsibility statement.

‘We require our suppliers to meet strict criteria on labour standards, and have an ethical trading policy that commits us to working hard to address and make progress on the challenges we face, both in the UK and overseas.'



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