Unfortunately, millions of workers across the world still do not receive an income that allows them to meet their basic needs.
At UTZ we believe that better farming leads to better productivity, meaning farmers can increase both their income and the entrepreneurial skills to help them access new markets.
This leads to positive economic outcomes for both the farmer and their families.
A Decent Standard Of Living
A living wage means a worker should receive a wage for a regular work week (before overtime) that is enough to afford a decent standard of living for themselves and her or his family.
Yet still today legal minimum wages do not exist in some countries, and in others they are extremely low.
This means families are going hungry, children are kept out of school, and people are unable to pull themselves out of poverty – no matter how hard they work.
The UTZ Code Of Conduct
Through our Code of Conduct, we require employers to take steps to improve worker wages in line with local living wage levels.
This means making a comparison between workers’ remuneration, including cash and in-kind wages, and living wage estimates based on our benchmarks.
We realize that for many producers, wages form an important part of production costs. Although it is undeniable that in some countries and areas wage levels need to increase, we advocate that they should do so steadily to avoid undesired consequences for farmers who might see their profit margin declining and consequently hire less labor, increase levels of mechanization, or even go out of business.
The Global Living Wage Coalition
We are proud to be a founding member of the Global Living Wage Coalition, working in collaboration with like-minded organizations across the world.
Together, we have helped produce a living wage benchmark that takes into account the actual costs of food, health care, housing, education, transport and a small amount of savings in order to allow workers to be prepared for the unexpected.
The calculation takes into account that in some cases agricultural workers will receive in kind payments in the guise of housing or other benefits, and calculates by region and sector an actual living wage.
This is vital as it will enable us to show where a living wage is not being paid, and therefore where additional actions need to be taken either at a local, regional, national or company level.