German grocers agree to promote living wages for workers

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German grocers agree to promote living wages for workers

Seven big German retailers signed an agreement last Friday to promote living wages for workers, reports local Zeit Online. The initiative comes in response to increasing consumer pressure to provide good conditions for workers throughout the supply chain.

Supermarkets Lidl, Aldi Süd and Nord, Kaufland, Rewe, DM and Tegut all committed to contribute to the economic initiative with the German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller.

Signed at the International Green Week event in Berlin, the document says that the companies are "enabling farming and working families in global supply chains to have a decent standard of living".

This initiative is meant to limit the grocers' production to their own brands. It also seeks to make supply chains more transparent. Focusing on human rights and supply chain tracing, the agreement shows that supermarkets

The German grocers said that this step is a reflection of consumer demands to know about where their food is coming from.

“The seven pioneering companies recognize for the first time that low incomes are a major challenge and living wages are more urgent than ever,” said Müller.

A necessity for German grocers, ensuring good practices for supply chain

The minister has previously criticized the conditions of workers for the grocers. He gave the example that "German food retailers buy a kilo of bananas for 14 cents".

Then, in the market, they "hopefully won’t sell them here for less than one euro". Müller went on to add that people cannot survive with such producer prices.

Now, action steps involved in the agreement include addressing wage gaps and implementing sustainable practices. The voluntary commitment involves key processes like increasing traceability efforts, progress reports and making data available to producing countries.

The paper enables traceability and attends to human rights. German retailers will pilot the program by 2025, according to the article.

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