Making steps towards Living Wage with the support of the private sector

Ending poverty is not possible until workers are paid sufficient wages to meet their basic needs and the private sector is looking for the best practices and solutions to make steps to understand this complex issue. IDH decided to bundle their years of experience in the field of living wage to help the private sector in this journey. Six large retailers and other key companies will support IDH in its aim to build tangible solutions with the goal to help all the stakeholders that operate in the world of living wage.

Retailers Axfood, Sainsbury’s, Rewe Group, Tesco, Metro, Aldi North, Aldi South, and companies such as Fyffes, Dole and Afriflora will work together with IDH to deliver the solutions needed that will contain harmonizing processes and enabling continuous improvement. In the IDH Living Wage Steering Committee, participating companies will focus on monitoring the implementation of the IDH Roadmap to effectively take action on the issue of living wage and living income.

To support the successful implementation of the IDH Roadmap for living wage, a Technical Advisory Group has also been formed with partners from Amfori, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Sedex, SAI / SA8000, and FWF.

Tony Bruggink, Global Director at IDH: “It is great to see these companies supporting IDH in this journey towards living wage and living income. Together we can play an active role in addressing the important and complex challenge of ending poverty — not only by implementing strategies in companies their business practices, but also by engaging the broader sector towards mainstreaming the steps to take, and inspiring and supporting the issue of living wage and possible solutions as a whole.”

Without trust and uniformity across standards on how the way a living wage gap is calculated, progress cannot be tracked at the facility of a supplier in a simple or credible way. In order for the private sector to effectively take action, a clear definition and understanding of what a living wage entails, accurate regional benchmarks, and standardized tools for measuring and addressing the gap between the current and living wage are essential. Of course, assessing the gap is only the first step, and the real action begins afterwards — with companies needing time-smart, consistent and manageable solutions to implement change. It’s also very important to capture learnings, issues and best practices, and share these among all relevant stakeholders in the market so that collective learning takes place.

The Living Wage Roadmap is part of IDH’s broader work on addressing living wage in supply chains — following five years of work with partners in the tea, banana, and flower industries, and extensive Anker methodology benchmarking in countries including Malawi, Ghana, Ecuador and Costa Rica. It marks a significant achievement in mainstreaming work on living wage and living income, and a positive advancement in new sectors including coffee, cocoa, and juice.