Unilever commits to living wage across its value chain by 2030

By: |
January 21, 2021 10:34 PM

A living wage is defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet his or her basic needs and is higher than the normal wage

UnileverUnilever will work with its suppliers, other businesses, governments and NGOs to create systemic change. (File photo)

Anglo-Dutch FMCG major Unilever on Thursday said everyone who directly provides goods and services to the company will earn at least a living wage by 2030.

The company will spend 2 billion euros annually by 2025 with suppliers owned and managed by people from under-represented groups, Unilever said in a statement.

This is part of commitments announced by Unilever to help build a more equitable and inclusive society by raising living standards across its value chain, creating opportunities through inclusivity and preparing people for the future of work, it added.

Unilever CEO Alan Jope said, “The two biggest threats that the world currently faces are climate change and social inequality.”

The past year has widened the social divide, and decisive and collective action is needed to build a society that helps to improve livelihoods, embraces diversity, nurtures talent, and offers opportunities for everyone, he added.

“We believe the actions we are committing to will make Unilever a better, stronger business; ready for the huge societal changes we are experiencing today – changes that will only accelerate. Without a healthy society, there cannot be a healthy business,” Jope said.

A living wage is defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet his or her basic needs and is higher than the normal wage. It allows workers to participate fully in their communities and help them break the cycle of poverty.

Under living wage, people can afford a decent standard of living, covering a family’s basic needs—food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transportation, clothing; and includes a provision for unexpected events.

“Our ambition is to improve living standards for low-paid workers worldwide. We will therefore ensure that everyone who directly provides goods and services to Unilever earns at least a living wage or income, by 2030.

“We already pay our employees at least a living wage, and we want to secure the same for more people beyond our workforce, specifically focusing on the most vulnerable workers in manufacturing and agriculture,” the company said.

Unilever will work with its suppliers, other businesses, governments and NGOs—through purchasing practices, collaboration and advocacy—to create systemic change and global adoption of living wage practices.

In parallel, Unilever will also help 5 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in its retail value chain grow their business through access to skills, finance and technology by 2025.

“Our work to drive diversity and inclusion will extend beyond our people and our operations, through our commitment to spend 2 billion euros annually with diverse suppliers, by 2025,” it said.

These suppliers will be small and medium-sized businesses owned and managed by women, under-represented racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities and LGBTQI+.

“In addition to our spend, we will support these businesses with a new Supplier Development Programme that will provide access to skills, financing and networking opportunities.

“We will promote supplier diversity throughout our value chain, encouraging our suppliers to have diversity amongst their respective partners,” said Unilever.

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