Home / Knowledge / News / Apparel/Garments / RMG firms failing to deliver on living wage promise: study

RMG firms failing to deliver on living wage promise: study

Jun '19
Pic: University of Sheffield
Pic: University of Sheffield
Global garment companies are failing to meet living wage promises to workers, according to a study published by researchers at the University of Sheffield last month. The experts said it would take a ‘step-change in approach’ for major corporations, including Nike, Primark and Adidas, to pay wages that ‘meet the basic needs’ of workers and their families.

Over the last decade, leading global corporations have made commitments to deliver living wages to the workers who make their clothes.

But an investigation by the researchers at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) at the UK university found that many companies do not have concrete, measurable action plans for achieving a living wage in their global supply chains, or benchmarks for calculating living wage rates, according to a press release from the university.

The researchers investigated the commitments and actions of 20 of the world’s leading garment companies. Of those, 17 are members of initiatives that profess a commitment to living wages.

The 20 companies are Amazon, Adidas, C&A, Decathlon, Fruit of the Loom, GAP, G-Star RAW, Gucci, H&M, Hugo Boss, Inditex, Levi Strauss, Nike, Primark, Puma, PVH, Tchibo, Under Armour, Fast Retailing/Uniqlo and Zalando.

Just three companies have a supplier code of conduct that requires workers to be paid wages that meet the Clean Clothes Campaign’s definition of a living wage. H&M, C&A and G-Star RAW promise to cover the basic needs of workers and their families, provide some discretionary income and specify that this wage should be earned within a normal working week.

The study found that a lack of transparency around the wages workers receive makes it extremely difficult to evaluate companies’ progress towards meeting their own living wage promises.

Instead of altering their purchasing practices to make it possible for suppliers to pay living wages, most garment corporations are outsourcing their living wage commitments to external initiatives.

Some are part of multiple external initiatives, each with different definitions and approaches to living wages, which mean that corporate commitments lack clarity. SPERI’s analysis shows that corporate supplier codes of conduct are often out of step with the requirements of the external initiatives they are involved with.

“There is little evidence that corporate commitments to living wages are translating into meaningful change on the ground. As such, consumers are purchasing products they may believe are made by workers earning a living wage, when in reality, low wages continue to be the status quo across the global garment industry,” said project leader Genevieve LeBaron, professor of politics at the university and director of SPERI. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

Must ReadView All

Pic: Shutterstock

Textiles | On 25th Jan 2022

New US legislation to fix import loophole, boost oversight unveiled

Earl Blumenauer, chairman of the US House of Representatives ways and ...

Pic: Shutterstock

Apparel/Garments | On 25th Jan 2022

China’s garment industry earned $209 bn in revenue in Jan-Nov 2021

About 12,659 garment companies of China earned a combined operating...

Pic: Shutterstock

Apparel/Garments | On 25th Jan 2022

AmCham says RCEP aligns with economic reforms in Philippines

AmCham Philippines has joined the call for the immediate concurrence...

Interviews View All

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Ensured payment of fee was least concern for students

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Always best to produce under own supervision

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Delay in adopting water sustainability both financially & environmentally...

Daniele Uboldi,

Daniele Uboldi

EptaInks is the screen-printing division of Eptanova, a company that...

Mohammad Ali Khokon,

Mohammad Ali Khokon

<div>The Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) is the national trade ...

Shivaani Jain,

Shivaani Jain

Established in 2015, Once Upon A Trunk is a one-stop-shop with almost...

Steve McCullough & Marco Weichert, Functional Fabric Fair & Design and Development GmbH Textile Consult respectively

Steve McCullough & Marco Weichert
Functional Fabric Fair & Design and Development GmbH Textile Consult respectively

Functional Fabric Fair is a trade-exclusive event showcasing the latest...

Tonny De Beer, PFNonwovens

Tonny De Beer

PFNonwovens (PFN) was established in 2018 by the combination of two...

Ingo Soller, TWE Group

Ingo Soller
TWE Group

The TWE Group is one of the leading global players in the nonwovens...

Gavin Miguel, Label Gavin Miguel

Gavin Miguel
Label Gavin Miguel

Acclaimed fashion designer <b>Gavin Migue</b>l is known for his couture...

Seema Gujral, Label Seema Gujral

Seema Gujral
Label Seema Gujral

<b>Seema Gujral</b>'s designs for her eponymous label revolve around...

Anjali Bhaskar, Samatvam

Anjali Bhaskar

Samatvam, a womenswear brand that blends age-old craftsmanship with modern ...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


Letter To Editor

(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies


Leave your Comments


Arvind Limited
Vianney Textil Hogar S.A. De C.V.
Desigual - ABASIC, S.A.
Midas Clothing Limited
Tchibo GmbH
IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative
Groz-Beckert East Asia LLP
SHAHI Exports Pvt Ltd
Calvin Klein
Sainsbury's Argos Asia Limited
Cat Tuong Real Estate Group Joint Stock Company
Phong Phu international JSC (PPJ)
Brandix Lanka Limited
Rosset ;& Cia Limited
Lululemon Athletica Inc
IKEA of Sweden AB
MAS Active / MAS Kreeda / MAS Bodyline
C;&A Sourcing International Ltd
Lisa S.P.A.
Vardhman Textile Ltd
Esprit Europe Services GmbH
Sportmaster Ltd.
International Textile Manufacturers Federation
Boardriders Asia Sourcing Limited
NITI Aayog
G-Star Raw C.V.
Huntsman (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Gokaldas Exports Limited
Tommy Hilfiger
Maceton Limited
Landmark Group
Recron Polyester from Reliance Industries Limited
H;&M Hennes ;& Mauritz (Far East) Ltd
Deckers Outdoor (Guangzhou) Consultant Co., LTD.
Grasim Industries Limited
Chori Company Limited
Hela Clothing Pvt Ltd
Bluestem Global Sourcing Limited
OVS Hong Kong Sourcing Ltd.
Gatsby Africa
Benetton Group
The LYCRA Company Singapore  Pte. Ltd
John Varvatos
Rayonese Textile Inc., Division de Culp Inc.
Tory Burch Hong Kong Ltd
Sateri (Jiujiang) Fiber Co.,Ltd
Green Fibre
Alison Hayes Romania
Reiter India Private Limited
Varner AS Retail
PVH Corporation
Hirdaramani International Export Private Limited
Aramark Uniform ;& Career Apparel, LLC
Truetzschler India Private Limited
Helly Hansen Far East Ltd
LC Waikiki
Amazon China
Gap International Sourcing Limited
Lenzing Aktiengesellschaft
Lacoste (Wanchai)
Alix Partners
Guess Europe Sagl,
J ;& P Coats
Chico’ FAS
T.T. Limited
Aquarelle Clothing Limited
Page Industries Limited (Bangalore)
KAS Direct Sourcing
Eastman Chemical Company
Sportswear Company Spa
The Top Form Brassiere Manufacturing Company Limited
Etam Group Strategy Hong Kong Limited
Seasalt Limited

January 2022

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

Advanced Search