Fostering worker management dialogue, collective bargaining agreements, and a living wage benchmark

IDH works together with private sector players, governments, and civil society organizations to improve working conditions and living wages. By convening coalitions of key sector players to foster worker management dialogue and collective bargaining agreements, supporting living wage benchmark setting, as per the Anker’s methodology, and revitalizing industries to create room for the payment of living wages to workers.

Why paying a living wage is good for both workers and business

A new series of cases by IDH outline the challenge of compromised worker safety and insufficient pay, and the benchmarks for cost of living, which enable actors to “speak the same language”, create a framework for assessing progress and enable verification through audits and possibility for buyers to distinguish products.

Go to the Case Study page

Do your own Living Wage Gap Analysis

IDH and Rainforest Alliance have developed a self-assessment Salary Matrix on how to calculate the wage gaps at field level.


Go to the Matrix



Challenges to Living Wages and Working Conditions

For workers in many developing and emerging economies, working for export sectors is a potential exit from poverty, and a material contribution to the country’s economic development. Yet, where incomes are insufficient to enable workers to ‘work out of poverty’, and working conditions are poor, this model of development can stall, perpetuating and entrenching in-work poverty.

2020 Goals

  • 290,000

    workers have improved working conditions

  • 80,000

    workers' wages increase towards living wage

Our Approach

Sector governance

Openly confronting the issue of poor working conditions and low wages is critical to changing the status quo. Change needs to happen at governance level to impact workers in firms, factories, and farms. By convening coalitions of key sector players, we foster worker-management dialogue that leads to committed policy makers (both public and private) and collective bargaining agreements. Creating an enabling environment to achieve improved working conditions and living wages.

To establish living wage benchmarks, IDH uses the Anker-methodology, a worldwide recognised methodology to calculate reference wage levels in different countries and sectors.

Field level sustainability

IDH supports companies to develop human resource management, capacity building and employee and employer training — giving workers a stronger voice and seeing improvements in safety, nutrition, in-kind benefits and skills. These improvements can translate into increased worker satisfaction and productivity, which can in turn translate into higher margins to augment wages.

Business practices

IDH also supports companies to innovate on more efficient and effective business models that improve working conditions and enable profit margins to increase. By proving business cases that increase quantity and quality of production, sector competitiveness increases, paving the way for companies to increase wages and improve working conditions.



Title Type Year
Malawi Tea 2020 Annual Progress Report 2018 Report 2018
Living Wages in Practice Report 2018
2018 Malawi Wages Committee Report Report 2018
Ergon Associate Wage Study on Floriculture in Ethiopia and Kenya Article 2018
FSI Key Topic Paper on Living Wages Article 2018

Where we strive for living wages and working conditions

Sectors: Apparel
Sectors: Cotton
Sectors: Apparel Cotton
Sectors: Cotton
Sectors: Cotton
Sectors: Cotton
Sectors: Tea
Costa Rica

Contact us to learn more

There are two kinds of companies: those that sell sustainable products... and those that will...


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