Living wage is one of our key social ESG focuses this year at Ethical Partners, and something we are actively engaging with our portfolio companies about.
Importantly, we believe this letter's call to not compromise the definition of living wage in this final directive, is crucial. Living wages are not the same as legal minimum wages - rather, they are wages "sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family - that is, to be able to provide "food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs including provision for unexpected events.” (as defined by the Global Living Wage Coalition).
Sadly, according to statistics from the International Labour Organization (ILO), nearly 1 in 5 workers globally earn too little to lift themselves and their families out of extreme poverty. It is therefore very clear that living wages are crucial to Australian corporates playing their part in addressing poverty and inequality, decent work, the rights of Children, and the attainment of many of the SDG’s (sustainable development goals).
We agree that living wages are also good for business, in that they help retain a stable, skilled work force and a productive, resilient value chain, as well as enabling businesses to meet the expectations of shareholders, customers and increasing regulatory standards.
We look forward to continuing to advocate for, and engage with ASX listed companies to ensure living wages in both their own operations and throughout their value chains.
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National Reconciliation week is a time to reflect, learn, share histories and cultures and explore how everyone can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. At Ethical Partners, we are strong supporters of action towards reconciliation, and as such regularly engage with all portfolio companies, as well as many others across the ASX on their current state and path towards reconciliation.