The review explores various market leverage practices and instruments that can contribute to enhancing OSH and working conditions in supply chains, with specific attention to the agri-food and construction industries.
The review identifies various leverage practices, including contractual governance and relational governance, influenced by contextual factors such as legislation, regulations, collective agreements, and public pressure. In the agri-food sector, sustainable procurement practices and audit/certification schemes play a significant role, while relational practices involve supplier support, visits, and dialogue.
Relational practices emphasize trust-building, supplier development, and transparent communication. The article suggests policy pointers, including integrating OSH requirements in procurement, merging existing standards, promoting relational governance guidelines, and initiating further research to understand the effectiveness of market leverage in improving OSH. Overall, the review highlights the potential of market mechanisms to positively influence OSH in supply chains and underscores the need for more research in this area.
The effectiveness of leverage practices is influenced by contextual factors such as national and international legislation, collective agreements, public pressure, and sector-specific characteristics. In the agri-food sector, leverage instruments include sustainable procurement practices and audit/certification schemes focused on social sustainability, including OSH. Relational governance practices in this sector emphasize supplier support, visits, dialogue, and supplier development activities.
The article suggests policy recommendations based on the findings of the review. These include integrating OSH requirements into procurement processes, merging existing standards to alleviate audit fatigue, promoting relational governance through guidelines and training, and initiating further research on market leverage of OSH in supply chains.
The review concludes that market leverage can positively impact OSH and working conditions, although further research is needed. The article highlights the need for more comprehensive studies on the effects of market leverage, as most existing research focuses on individual companies and OSH problems rather than measures for improvement.
The work of SafeHabitus, specifically in WP5 “From Fork to Farms and Workers”, takes a reverse value chain perspective, examining the link between consumers and farm workers. This part of the project aims to assess the potential of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and value chain interventions in generating social, economic, and environmental impacts.
WP5 of the SafeHabitus project focuses on understanding the motivations and perceptions of consumers regarding current farming working conditions. It will analyse consumers’ awareness of the conditions behind agricultural products they purchase, as well as their willingness to pay
for ethically produced goods. The project will conduct surveys and qualitative research involving consumers, retailers, and supermarkets, as well as value chain actors, policy/regulatory bodies, and farm businesses.
Overall, the work conducted by SafeHabitus in WP5 will contribute to the understanding of market dynamics, consumer perceptions, and the impact of CSR initiatives on working and labour conditions within the agricultural supply chain. It aims to complement the broader research on market leverage practices and provides insights into how value chain interventions can drive sustainable social and economic impacts.
- Improving OSH through supply chains: market-based initiatives in the agri-food and construction industries. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2023. ISBN: 978-92-9402-174-8. Available at https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/improving-osh-through-supply-chains-market-based-initiatives-agri-food-and-construction-industries
- Leverage Instruments for Occupational Safety and Health