How can we support buyers in addressing living wages in their supply chains?

IDH recognises that whilst addressing living wage gaps ideally requires long-term cooperation between buyers and producers (and other key players in the supply chain), voluntary contributions serve as a good first step for buyers who want to make a difference.

With support from our partners in the banana, tea, floriculture and apparel sectors, we have developed the Buyers’ Guidelines: Voluntary Contributions to Support Closing Living Wage Gaps, which contains three step-by-step toolkits for implementing voluntary contributions. These guidelines are crafted for buyers who are committed to working on living wages in their supply chains and need pragmatic tools to get started.

In the competitive market economy we live, providing a voluntary contribution is a first step to support workers in supply chains. The IDH guidelines on voluntary contribution provide practical tools to make sure that the contribution is truly received by the workers.” Marjan de Bock-Smit, Impact Buying

It is crucial to highlight that the ultimate goal is to ensure workers receive living wages through negotiations, particularly via social dialogue and collective bargaining agreements. While voluntary contributions can play a role, they cannot fully address the root structural issues causing living wage gaps or replace the importance of collective bargaining. Structural changes need to be implemented – particularly at the governmental or country level – to systemically raise wages through social dialogue or collective bargaining. While this falls outside a buyer’s sphere of influence, voluntary contributions do not.

At the Living Wage and Living Income Summit 2024, Marjan de Bock-Smit, CEO Impact Buying, announced the guidelines.

Click here to download the guidelines.