Develop a roadmap by 2022 for enabling a living wage for workers in our supply chain. A living wage is the remuneration received for a standard workweek by a worker in a particular place, which is sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs, including provision for unexpected events. The regional living wages and living wage reference values developed using the Anker Methodology will be used as our benchmark for a living wage.
Governments of countries in which we source raw materials and manufacture goods generally set minimum wages for their workers. However, it is widely recognised by corporations, NGOs, academics, and industry bodies that these minimum wages are often insufficient for workers to afford a decent standard of living. We need to understand how we can mitigate some of the challenges associated with the provision of a living wage, and work with peers, industry partners, suppliers, NGOs, and the workers themselves to enable systemic change that will result in living wages being paid to workers.
We are still early in the journey towards enabling a living wage for workers in our supply chain, particularly from a Woolworths perspective. Country Road Group has published a living wage commitment on its website, outlining steps being taken in this regard. Work is currently underway on developing a responsible purchasing practices framework for the Group, and training is being conducted internally with buying teams on ethical sourcing programmes. Across the Group, we will continue to work together on developing a roadmap.
There is currently no clear benchmark for what constitutes a living wage in every region from which we source raw materials and manufactured goods. Living wage is also a fluid benchmark that is specific to both time and location. Living wage benchmarks increase with economic development, and fluctuate due to factors such as commodity-cost changes, inflation, tax, government policies, and food and rental costs. These factors can differ and fluctuate between countries, regions, cities, and towns, so benchmarking a living wage in one country – let alone globally – is challenging.
The nature of the global supply chain means that a retailer paying higher prices for goods doesn’t necessarily translate to higher wages for workers. Retailers are reliant on suppliers passing on benefits to their own suppliers and, in turn, their workers.
In addition, while collective bargaining is often a way for workers to push for better wages, it is not allowed in certain countries, and/or is impacted by the macro-environment.
Development of a group-wide roadmap for enabling a living wage for workers in our supply chain
No roadmap, but a living wage commitment previously made by Country Road Group
More information on our performance against this goal can be found in our annual Good Business Journey Report.