The Living Wage: A Crucial Building Block for Responsible Palm Oil Growers

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Launched in April 2014, the Palm Oil Innovation Group Indicators was the first palm oil verification standard requiring grower members to undertake a living wage assessment, as defined by the Global Living Wage Coalition’s ANKER Framework.

With the support of POIG members, it was therefore a welcome outcome when the RSPO 2018 P&C review included new indicator (6.2.6) requiring that a living wage is paid to all workers. Furthermore, the RSPO endorsed the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC) Framework as the standard for growers to apply.

However, the new indicator did not require all growers to undertake their own living wage assessment, but rather rely on GLWC benchmarks, on the National Interpretation Working Groups, and on future guidance by the RSPO. As a consequence, in the five years since the adoption, few grower members have implemented the indicator, blaming lack of relevant guidance, and there are now concerns that the living wage indicator may be watered down or abandoned in the ongoing 2023 P&C review.

From POIG’s perspective, abandoning the living wage requirement would set back the Workers’ Rights components of the P&C significantly, and undermine the reputation and robustness of the RSPO Standard in the eyes of commercial, regulatory and civil society stakeholders globally.

This publication is developed to showcase that the implementation of a living wage is feasible in a wide variety of national, local and cultural contexts. However, as demonstrated by POIG’s grower members, it is critical that living wage assessments are undertaken locally, by the company itself with real-life local data and stakeholder participation. The three companies featured have all used the same methodology but have adapted it to align with different contexts. This publication does not seek to rubberstamp the various approaches and conclusions, but rather showcase how companies in different contexts can gain valuable insights and provide better economic conditions for workers and their families.

Download the publication to learn more about the methodologies applied by the three case studies featuring the POIG verified growers.