Living wage in the retail sector
Insights

Living wage in the retail sector

2021 kicked off another year of uncertainty, we saw the proliferation of lockdowns and further restrictions on our ability to travel, as well as no end of supply chain disruption, be it caused by the pandemic or broader economic factors. That said, the overarching sentiment was a return to business as usual, if only from the perspective of a new normal. This thinking translated into our engagement on a living wage. At the start of the pandemic, we felt sympathy for retailers dealing with the devastating consequences of Covid-19 with furlough, redundancies and employee safety concerns being top of mind. However, in 2021, we took the view that there was no longer any excuse for inertia on this topic.

As highlighted in our 2020 update, the importance of improved employee pay and benefits increased. This is backed up by data disclosed in the World Economic Forum, The Global Risks Report 2022, where the ‘livelihood crises’ was flagged as the second most immediate threat to the world according to respondents. Here, the report notes that the “structural deterioration of work prospects and/or standards for the working-age population: unemployment, underemployment, lower wages, fragile contracts, erosion of worker rights etc” could cause significant negative impacts for many industries and countries over the next 10 years.

Through our engagement on a living wage, whilst we note some progress in terms of increased pay and benefits to the direct employees of retail companies, improvements for workers in the supply chain have been more limited. Through our work with collaborative investor initiatives and as highlighted in the Platform Living Wage Financials (PLWF) 2021 annual report, we note enhanced supply chain due diligence on the part of investee companies, for example, in the form of on the ground wage data collection. However, tangible improvements to worker pay is taking longer to come to fruition.

13 May 2022
Tim Bonds
Tim Bonds
Associate, Analyst, Responsible Investment
Tenisha Elliott
Tenisha Elliott
Senior Associate, Analyst, Responsible Investment
Nina Roth
Nina Roth
Director, Responsible Investment
Share article
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Key topics
Related topics
Listen on Stitcher badge
Share article
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Key topics
Related topics

PDF

Living wage in the retail sector

Risk Disclaimer

Views and opinions have been arrived at by Columbia Threadneedle Investments and should not be considered to be a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any companies that may be mentioned.

The information, opinions, estimates or forecasts contained in this document were obtained from sources reasonably believed to be reliable and are subject to change at any time.

Related insights

21 May 2024

Pauline Grange

Portfolio Manager, Global Equities

Water in crisis – searching for solutions

With too much, too little or too toxic water the world is facing a water crisis. We explore key issues and challenges before highlighting some of the companies promoting better water management.
Read time - 3 min
26 April 2024

Albertine Pegrum-Haram

Senior Associate, Responsible Investment

Decarbonising Steel: redefining the value chain and the role of iron ore miners

The need to decarbonise is driving innovation in the steel sector, which in turn is reshaping the global value chain for one of its key inputs – iron ore.
Read time - 1 min
23 April 2024

Neeti Shah

ESG analyst

Rana Plaza 11 years on

2013’s disaster served as a wake-up call to the garment industry. How have factory conditions changed and how are we tackling related risks through engagement?
Read time - 3 min
22 May 2024

Joanna Tano

Head of Research, Europe, Real Estate (EMEA)

UK Real estate – Overview Q1 2024

Total returns for the UK commercial property market turned positive in Q1 2024.
Read time - 3 min
21 May 2024

Pauline Grange

Portfolio Manager, Global Equities

Water in crisis – searching for solutions

With too much, too little or too toxic water the world is facing a water crisis. We explore key issues and challenges before highlighting some of the companies promoting better water management.
Read time - 3 min
20 May 2024

Rosa Fenwick

Head of Core LDI Portfolio Management

Euro LDI Survey – Q1 2024

In the quarterly Columbia Threadneedle Investments LDI Survey we poll investment bank trading desks on various topical questions around monetary policy and longer-term rate expectations.
Read time - 6 min
true
true

Risk Disclaimer

Views and opinions have been arrived at by Columbia Threadneedle Investments and should not be considered to be a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any companies that may be mentioned.

The information, opinions, estimates or forecasts contained in this document were obtained from sources reasonably believed to be reliable and are subject to change at any time.

You may also like

Investment approach

Teamwork defines us and is fundamental to our investment approach, which is structured to facilitate the generation, assessment and implementation of good, strong investment ideas for our portfolios.

Funds and Prices

Columbia Threadneedle Investments has a comprehensive range of investment funds catering for a broad range of objectives.

Our Capabilities

We offer a broad range of actively managed investment strategies and solutions covering global, regional and domestic markets and asset classes.