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

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 have an increase in their 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.

News

  • 4 Dec 2018

    Living wages in practice, in the avocado supply chain from Kenya

    In collaboration with IDH and Hivos, Eosta conducted a living wage research pilot, with a Kenyan avocado supplier, to research whether living waged could be used to improve social sustainability…

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    Living wages in practice, in the avocado supply chain from Kenya
  • 12 Oct 2018

    Tea supply chain collaboration continues to show progress in Malawi

    Through efforts of the Malawi Tea 2020 programme, wages of tea workers have increased. The net living wage gap closed with 25%. This means that tea workers on tea plantations…

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    Tea supply chain collaboration continues to show progress in Malawi
  • 27 Sep 2018

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

    To get insight into why paying a living wage is good for both workers and business, we outline, in a new series of cases, the ins and…

    Read more
    Why paying a living wage is good for both workers and business
  • 6 Jul 2018

    Giving banana workers a decent standard of living

    IDH is working towards living wages in the banana sector, supporting specific interventions in Ghana and Ecuador and in Costa Rica and Belize. Employment in the export sector promises a…

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    Giving banana workers a decent standard of living
  • 1 Jun 2018

    Living Wages in the Banana sector

    Employment in the export sector promises a potential solution for poor working conditions and low wages. In many production countries, however, it is common that workers receive insufficient wages to…

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    Living Wages in the Banana sector
  • 25 May 2018

    Living wage: discussions with banana producers in Costa Rica

    With draft figures from the living wage benchmark study in Costa Rica now available, the IDH banana project has moved to the next step: calculating the current wages associated with…

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    Living wage: discussions with banana producers in Costa Rica
  • 31 Oct 2017

    Malawi Tea 2020 makes steady progress

    Good progress is seen around the activities of the Malawi Tea 2020 program, such as investments by estates, work around energy efficiency and environment and farmer field schools and Village…

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    Malawi Tea 2020 makes steady progress
  • 28 Feb 2017

    IDH’s focus on impact

    Starting in 2017, IDH will focus on creating impact in 5 key areas: deforestation mitigation, improved working conditions (including living wages), gender equality, smallholder inclusion and agrochemical management which all…

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    IDH’s focus on impact
  • 26 Oct 2016

    A living wage for Malawian tea workers comes one step closer

    IDH’s tea program in Malawi is one step closer to realize a living wage for Malawian tea workers. The living wage gap is closed by 20%. One year after starting…

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    A living wage for Malawian tea workers comes one step closer
  • 23 Nov 2015

    Tender Impact Evaluation 2013-2020

    In the period of 2016-2020, IDH will engage in 11 sectors with a focus on addressing deep impact issues (“high-hanging fruits”), such as deforestation, living wage, sexual harassment on crop…

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    Tender Impact Evaluation 2013-2020

Publications

Title Type Year
Living Wage Benchmark Report – Ethiopia Article 2018
Living Wage Benchmark Report – Semi-urban Kenya Article 2018
Living Wage Benchmark Report – Ghana Article 2018
Living Wage Benchmark Report – Rural Kenya Article 2018
How we’re making a difference revitalizing the Malawian tea industry for workers to earn living wages Impact Study 2018

Where we strive for living wages and working conditions

Ethiopia
Vietnam
Sectors: Apparel
India
Sectors: Cotton
Pakistan
Sectors: Apparel, Cotton
Mali
Sectors: Cotton
Mozambique
Sectors: Cotton
China
Sectors: Cotton
Kenya
Malawi
Sectors: Tea
Costa Rica
Belize
Ghana
Ecuador

Contact us to learn more

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