Giving workers a decent standard of living
The topic of living wage has exploded into public consciousness, from fast food workers in the US to global clothing companies in Bangladesh. A living wage allows a worker to afford a decent standard of living for his or her family, with a little extra “just in case." The legal minimum wage too often falls far short of this concept, leaving workers around the world in poverty.
Sustainability standards define what is responsible practice, help operationalize complex concepts like living wage, and drive change in businesses. And standards work with several hundred brands, buyers and retailers that have a central role to play in wage discussions around the world. As such, sustainability standards have a lot to contribute to ongoing living wage discussions.
An unprecented collaboration
Seven standards systems have made a joint commitment and launched an unprecedented collaboration in the form of the Global Living Wage Coalition, recognising the need for a shared approach to measuring living wage and more coordination in living wage implementation efforts. The long term goal and shared mission of Global Living Wage Coalition members is to see improvements in workers' conditions, including wage levels, in the farms, factories and supply chains participating in their systems.
The coalition publishes region specific living wage benchmark reports in many countries using a state-of-the-art methodology developed by coalition partners Richard Anker and Martha Anker. The benchmark and wage gap studies help involve a range of organisations in informed living wage discussions, including supply chain partners, workers and trade unions. These dialogues and the wage-related requirements in coalition members’ standards also encourage stronger action to increase wages.
Support the living wage work
ISEAL supports the on-going work of the coalition and hosts the Secretariat. ISEAL and the coalition members welcome the interest of organisations that can help us put in place the conditions, partnerships, and structures to support the group's long-term goal to see wages in certified supply chains increase towards living wage.
The coalition is made up of ISEAL members Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), GoodWeave, Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), Rainforest Alliance (RA), and UTZ, along with Social Accountability International (SAI). Richard Anker and Martha Anker are also partners in this coalition.