Living Wage

SAI promotes the adoption of a living wage that meets workers’ basic needs to maintain a safe, decent standard of living. Workers and their families should not have to live in poverty—they should be able to make enough money working a normal work week to provide for a decent basic life style.

SAI is a member of the Global Living Wage Coalition that brings together six of the world’s most influential sustainability standards to improve wage levels in certified supply chains. The other members of the coalition include Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), GoodWeave International, the Rainforest Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). In partnership with the ISEAL Alliance and Dr. Richard and Martha Anker, the coalition has developed a state-of-the-art methodology for calculating living wage, developing a set of country-specific living wage estimates, and testing them in various sectors and countries. 

The coalition defines living wage as the remuneration received for a standard work week by a worker in a particular place 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, health care, transport, clothing, and other essential needs including provision for unexpected events.

The groundbreaking Anker Methodology for calculating living wages estimates the cost of a basic but decent life style for workers and their families in a particular place. It also determines if the estimated living wage is being paid to workers. SAI and the Global Living Wage Coalition continue to make living wage reports and benchmarks openly available to the public.

The living wage benchmarks do not supplant collective bargaining rights, but serve as a replicable tool to support social dialogue between workers and employers. For many developing country producers, wages form an important part of the costs of production. As such, it is important to introduce wage requirements only in combination with dialogue and involvement of actors at all levels of the supply chain.

SAI and the Global Living Wage Coalition see the living wage definition and development of the Anker Methodology as first but necessary steps of a long-term process that will help workers escape poverty. The definition and benchmarks are instrumental to collaborative efforts of retailers, buyers, producers and trade unions to make a living wage a reality.

For more information: 
Stephanie Wilson
Senior Manager, Innovation & Partnerships