Unilever won’t do business with suppliers not paying ‘living wage’

Unilever won't do business with suppliers not paying 'living wage'
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Consumer goods giant Unilever has said that it will stop doing business with any firm refusing to pay at least a living wage to its workers.

Unilever stated that by 2030, it will refuse to do business with companies that do not pay its workers with a living wage, which it defines as one that covers a family’s basic needs “and helped them break the cycle of poverty”.

Promoting living wage

The multinational company aims to raise the wages for people outside its workforce as part of its economic inclusion initiative. Charity group Oxfam International commended Unilever and described the move as a “step in the right direction”.

Unilever, which sells a multitude of products, including Marmite, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap, expressed its commitment to helping build “a more equitable and inclusive society”.

The firm said: “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.”

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It added that the wage should be sufficient to cover food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transport and clothing, and also include a provision for unexpected events.

According to Unilever, it is working with partners to come up with exact pay rates for each of the 190 countries it operates in. However, Unilever’s chief human resources officer Leena Nair mentioned that the firm will pay double the minimum wage in some countries.

The company argued that while it already paid its own employees at least a living wage, it wants to do the same for people beyond its organization, particularly those working in manufacturing and agriculture.

Unilever added: “We will work with our suppliers, other businesses, governments and NGOs – through purchasing practices, collaboration and advocacy – to create systemic change and global adoption of living wage practices.”

Other previous initiatives

In February of last year, Unilever pledged to stop marketing its ice cream products to children to help address the increasing obesity rates. It vowed to halt its marketing of ice cream brands, including Twister ice cream and Popsicle ice lollies, to children in order to help curb the rising obesity rates.

The firm said it would limit the use of cartoon characters in its advertising as well as stop using social media stars or celebrities “who primarily appeal” to children under 12. Unilever stated that the new rules will apply to all of its products by the end of 2020.

It will begin implementing these on its Wall’s ice cream brands, which include Max, Paddle Pop and Twister.

Unilever was also among the more than 90 advertisers who decided to boycott Facebook due to its handling of misinformation and hate speech at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US.

According to the firm, it will stop all advertising on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the US “at least” through 2020.

Unilever stated: “Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will revisit our current position if necessary.”

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