Dutch financial institutions call for living wages in garment industry

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Triodos Investment Management is one of the founders of the Platform Living Wage Financials (PLWF). This platform, that will be officially launched on 27 September 2018, is created to improve the poor working conditions in the garment industry, where wages are often too low to cover even the basic needs.

The initiative is a follow-up on cooperation between ASN Bank, MN and Triodos IM, started early 2017. In 2018, the Platform has grown from three to eight members, currently representing over EUR 725 billion in assets under management.

Living wages in the garment supply chain

Wages in global garment manufacturing are very low. In many manufacturing countries, actual wages or formal minimum wages - if there are - are far below what could be considered as a ‘living wage’. A living wage is a wage that is enough to live on for a person and his or her average-sized family. The wage enables production staff to meet the basic needs of food, clothing, housing, education and healthcare, plus an amount of around ten percent of the wage for unexpected costs and savings[1].”

With a living wage, families are more likely to find their way out of poverty. Workers can work regular working hours instead of excessively working overtime to make ends meet, pay for healthcare and send their children to school instead of sending them to work. In short, paying living wage also advances the respect for other fundamental human rights in global supply chains. And it is a concrete contribution to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goals 1: No poverty; and 8: Decent work and economic growth.

"We are very pleased that with the other two initiators, we have been able to expand the initiative to 8 Dutch financials who put their weight behind this important topic",
says Arthur van Mansvelt, Senior Sustainability Analyst with Triodos Investment Management.
Platform Living Wages
Platform Living Wage Financials aims to improve labour conditions in the garment industry.

Measuring and monitoring

"We are very pleased that with the other two initiators, we have been able to expand the initiative to 8 Dutch financials who put their weight behind this important topic", says Arthur van Mansvelt, Senior Sustainability Analyst with Triodos Investment Management. "Although the initial focus is on the garment industry, with the new members on board we aim to broaden the scope to supermarkets’ supply chains and agriculture".

The platform uses a methodology developed by ASN Bank to make companies efforts on living wage measurable and to monitor progress. The assessment is the basis for a dialogue that the platform initiates with investee companies. It also helps investee companies to understand what the investor’s expectations are regarding this complex topic.

The aim is to ensure that the companies in the target sectors can eventually make a living wage possible for employees in their supply chain. PLWF encourages brands to achieve 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. The platform therefore does not only engage in dialogue with investee companies, but also with the wider field of relevant stakeholders, such as trade unions, industry groups, governments and international organisations. 

Visit the website of the Platform Living Wages Financials.

[1]Source: Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (2015)

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