Call to action launched for living wage

IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, has published a Call to action: Better business through better wages, demanding companies take greater steps to pay a living wage to their staff.

The group, which seeks to make trade more sustainable, launched the scheme to encourage organisations and their suppliers to take action. So far, 10 signatories – including L’Oreal, Aldi, Uniliver, and Taylors of Harrogate – have already pledged their support.

The call to action has 10 commitments it wants employers to abide by to reduce the living wage gap. They include requiring firms to establish agreements with supply chain partners to close the gap; letting their staff have the freedom to join unions and create wage-setting mechanisms; transparently reporting on progress towards a living wage; insisting that procurement practices include living wage requirements; and identifying what their own living wage gaps are.

Daan Wensing, CEO at IDH, said: “Helping workers achieve a living wage is a shared responsibility across the entire supply chain, but the business community must be a driving force.”

He added: “We are proud that 10 companies already will work together towards living wages and encourage other businesses to join the call to action and do the same.

Adding to these comments, Jordy Van Honk, global director, agricultural commodities, IDH, said: “Pervasive social inequality harms prosperity of economies and societies. The old business model looked to low wages as a profitability driver. The new model should see well-paid workers as an integral part of a profitable, sustainable and resilient business.”

He said: “Paying a living wage provides a decent standard of living for workers and their families. It has been shown to reduce worker turnover and improve motivation and morale, creating a virtuous economic growth cycle.”

L’Oreal’s chief corporate responsibility officer, Alexandra Pait, added: “More than ever, we can and must take action to alleviate poverty. Our own commitment is that by 2030 all our suppliers’ employees will be paid at least the living wage. It’s a challenging target, but we are optimistic about achieving it.”

To help organisations, IDH has created an ‘IDH Roadmap on Living Wages’ – a toolkit giving leaders practical advice on how they can take their journey towards paying a living wage.