Adapting purchasing practices, safeguarding livelihoods


Adapting purchasing practices, safeguarding livelihoods

The recently adopted Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive at EU level, which will introduce further requirements for the private sector in addition to the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, as well as the ILO expert meeting on wage policy in February, provide new impetus for the topic of living wages.

In the Textile Partnership, the topic continues to be in the focus as well. Thus, the Partnership Initiative (PI) "Living Wage Lab 2.0" is committed to reducing the gap between current wages and living wages for textile workers in the supplier companies of participating Partnership members.  

To achieve this, the PI relies on close cooperation with suppliers on the one hand and on peer learning between the participating Partnership members on the other. Capacity building measures are used to raise workers' awareness of their rights and support them in asserting them. In addition to this, data on the impact of wages on workers is collected from suppliers to enable a data-based social dialogue. Factory management is also sensitized to the issue. The member companies, on the other hand, learn new strategies and tools in workshops and peer learning formats in order to develop and implement a strategy to close the wage gap.  

The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is the implementation partner for the measures in the nominated production facilities of the Partnership members in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The workshops are facilitated by the implementation partner Ergon Associates. 

Workshop on strategy development  

The members of the Partnership Initiative came together in Stuttgart last week for one of the workshops. Having already shared various implementation models and associated challenges for the payment of living wages in a first workshop, this time the focus was on defining initial approaches for the development of a Living Wage Strategy. An input from Ergon on the main features of a robust living wage strategy and examples of practical implementation served as the basis for strategy development.

Eine Kleingruppe arbeitet an einem Tisch

The participants then worked in small groups - so-called solution labs - on various topics. These focused on: 

  • the concrete implementation of the strategy and cooperation with suppliers: What influence do companies have on the payment of living wages? How can companies ensure that the money actually reaches the workers?
  • securing internal approval within the company and creating additional added value: What measures can be used to achieve this? How can purchasing practices be adapted?

The results of the group work, together with the elements that a robust strategy should contain, were compiled in plenary at the end. Among other things, the close exchange with the purchasing department, transparency about wage costs, capacity building for social dialogue and collective bargaining as well as cooperation with suppliers and other procuring companies were named as important components. Based on the results, the companies will continue to work on their own strategy in the next step and exchange ideas in upcoming peer learning formats.  

Eine Gruppe sitzt an einem U-förmigen Tisch zum Workshop, eine Person sitzt in der MItte vor einem großen Plakat

The PI takes place as part of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is jointly implemented by Bierbaum-Proenen, Chaps Merchandising, GREIFF Mode GmbH & Co. KG, Hugo Boss AG, Hch. Kettelhack GmbH & Co. KG, KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH, Ortovox Sportartikel GmbH, Vaude Sport GmbH & Co, Waschbär GmbH, 3FREUNDE, INKOTA Netzwerk e.V., Fairtrade DE, GoodWeave DE and GIZ.