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Living Wage Advocacy Initiative (LIWIN)

In the banana sector, it is not uncommon that plantation workers receive low wages that do not allow them to escape from poverty, affecting their overall well-being and the sustainability of the sector's supply chains.

The Living Wage Advocacy Initiative is a pilot project implemented in banana-producing countries of Ecuador and Ghana, with the aim of reaching national consensus for establishing living wage benchmarks that can be used for future wage negotiations and minimum wage setting interventions in the banana sector of each country. The World Banana Forum facilitates the discussions between all stakeholder groups so that they can agree collectively on the appropriate benchmarks. It does not have any pre-defined benchmarks to recommend.

Ecuador and Ghana: Living Wage Benchmarks

In both Ecuador and Ghana, bananas continue to be a core commodity for income generation. This initiative provides a powerful opportunity to determine the gap between actual wages and living wages, and ultimately establish a living wage benchmark in each country using a previously tested approach to Living Wage estimations known as the Anker methodology. 

Stakeholder Involvement in Benchmark Studies

Engaging local and global stakeholders in the initiative not only provides important short- and long-term benefits to such actors respectively, but is also key to the success of the initiative.

Banana workers and producers can use living wage data collected through this initiative to:

  • strengthen their dialogue for wage increases via collective bargaining agreements
  • improve their individual social conditions (i.e. health, education) and productivity, resulting from an increases in wage payments

By supporting sustainable working conditions for banana workers, retailers and companies can:

  • strengthen their corporate social responsibility objectives and benefit from increased brand reputation
  • create the necessary pressure to push other retailers and suppliers to engage in sustainability-oriented activities 

Furthermore, LIWIN can provide government entities with the necessary information and strategies to implement policies that promote human rights and improve working conditions for banana workers in Ecuador and Ghana. 

Project Objectives

The principal objectives of the initiatives include:

  1. Estimating the cost of a living wage for workers in both rural and urban areas of each country 
  2. Facilitating national multi-stakeholder discussions on living wage benchmarks
  3. Informing collective bargaining and minimum wage setting in the banana sector of each country
  4. Raising awareness and increasing transparency on living wage benchmarks within countries and along supply chains
  5. Increasing stakeholder commitment by engaging with, and empowering actors in closing the gap between actual wages and living wages through advocacy activities with governments and trade unions

Headline Activities

The headline activities to be carried out in order to achieve these objectives include:

  • Research analysis and field work benchmarking study
  • Facilitation of national multi-stakeholder discussions on living wage benchmarks
  • Advocacy and capacity building work based on agreed benchmarks

The initiative was launched in 2016 by the World Banana Forum (WBF) and Fairtrade International (FI) - a leading member of the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC), and has been co-funded by IDH and other public/private entities.