The Platform Living Wage Financials (PLWF) is an unprecedented alliance of 19 financial institutions that encourages, supports and monitors investee companies to enable living wages and living incomes in global supply chains.
As an international investor coalition representing over €6.5 trillion of assets under management and advice, we are well-positioned to engage with our investee companies. We use our influence and financial leverage to encourage over 50 companies from the garment and footwear, agrifood and food retail sectors to adopt good practices and promote social and economic resilience in their supply chains.
The idea of establishing a collaborative investor initiative on the ‘S’ of ESG was born at a human rights conference in Geneva in 2016. Responsible investment specialists from ASN Bank, MN and Triodos Investment Management agreed that social topics were often underestimated and overlooked and decided to work together.
The PLWF was officially launched in September 2018. The initial focus was on promoting living wages in the garment and footwear sector. Our scope expanded in 2019 when we added companies from the agri-food and food retail sectors to our engagement list.
Since 2018, we evolved from a group of 8 Dutch financial institutions to an international coalition of 19 members. Within four years, our total assets under management and advice more than quadrupled.
Current members are: ABN AMRO, Achmea Investment Management, Actiam, Aegon Asset Management, Amundi, AP2, APG, ASN Bank, a.s.r., Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Ethos Foundation, ING, Kempen Capital Management, LGIM, MN, NN Investment Partners, PGGM, Storebrand and Triodos Investment Management.
Why living wage and living income?
PLWF members recognize the systemic issue of underpayment in supply chains. By engaging on living wages and incomes, we honor our commitment to the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, wherein financials are asked to act with due diligence and to identify and mitigate salient human rights risks.
The benefits of living wage and living income are clear. Being able to earn a living wage or income and sustain a decent standard of living is not only a fundamental human right, but instrumental for a broader range of human and labour issues as well. For instance, living wages and incomes can lift workers out of poverty and reduce inequalities, while mitigating the risk of excessive overtime and child labour. As such, living wages and incomes can act as an ‘enabler’ for better living and working conditions globally.
Besides workers, providing for a living wage or living income also benefits businesses and society as a whole. It can contribute to a more stable workforce and more resilient value chains, and can have a multiplier effect on local economies and socio-economic opportunities.
Objectives of the collaboration
Within the PLWF, we are strongly convinced that living wage is a salient human right that requires urgent attention by companies worldwide. The members of the PLWF work together to ensure that the investee companies from our target sectors put living wage and living income on their agenda. By doing so, we want to move the needle in each of our focus sectors. We aim for sector-wide change and real impact for the workers on the ground. In addition, we want to honor our commitments to the 2030 Agenda and leading international guidelines for responsible business conduct.