Today, a group of Dutch financial institutions launched the ‘Platform Living Wage Financials’ (PLWF). This platform was created to improve the poor working conditions in the textile industry, where wages are often too low to live on. Founders ASN Bank, MN, Triodos IM, asr, Achmea Investment Management, NN Investment Partners, Robeco and Kempen, who jointly manage more than 700 billion euros, use their influence to increase the wages at the companies in which they invest, so making these ‘more livable’.
Living wage provides for the basic needs of employees and their families. Lower wages are particularly prevalent in sectors where a lot of manual work is required, such as the textile and footwear industry, consumer electronics, agriculture or retail trade. “As a result, employees in low-wage countries often can not meet their basic needs such as food, clothing, care, housing and education. A living wage breaks through the vicious circle of poverty that these families often hold for generations, “says Irina van der Sluijs, Senior Advisor Human Rights at ASN Bank, one of the founders of PLWF. “This is how living wage functions as a catalyst, to also reduce child labor and excessive overtime.”
PLWF unites financial institutions in their wish to work for a living wage in low-wage countries. The platform starts with a focus on the textile sector and expands it to other sectors such as supermarket chains and agriculture. Together, a methodology has been developed to make living wage measurable. With this, (textile) companies are assessed and compared in the same way. This assessment forms the basis with which the institutions enter into a dialogue with the companies in which they invest, because this is also a complex theme for them.
The aim is to ensure that all companies can eventually make a living wage possible for employees in their supply chain. PLWF helps them with this, in accordance with the UN guidelines on human rights and business (UNGPs): from policy on living wages, to practice and measurable impact in the production countries.
Sustainable Development Goals
Living wage is a universal human right. The establishment of PLWF is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and aims to address the social dimension of sustainability. PWLF now does this with the eight aforementioned parties, in the hope that even more investors will join in order to increase the impact of the platform.