Human rights apply to everyone, everywhere, always. Human rights are universal, inalienable and fundamental. This means, for instance, that everyone has the right to life, health, an adequate standard of living, work and freedom of opinion.
Companies are obligated to respect human rights, survey the human rights impacts of their actions and, where necessary, rectify and minimise such impacts. We have evaluated our human rights impacts in our supply chain and Finlayson’s own direct activities, and we are ambitiously continuing the process.
Adequate pay to live on
We take human rights very seriously in our value chain and exercise our influence to ensure and promote the realisation of human rights. Everyone, from the cotton-growing farmer to the factory worker sewing our products, must be able to live on the pay they receive for their work – regardless of the country in which they carry out that work.
It is sometimes challenging to ensure this and we cannot do it alone, as we are not a payer of wages in our supply chain. We know what our audited manufacturing partners pay to their workers, and we know that they pay at least the statutory minimum pay of the industry if it has been established in the country in question. As part of our human rights assessment, we also compared the minimum wages paid with the computational pay required for living in all of the so-called high-risk countries in which Finlayson has operations. The level of pay adequate for living varies greatly depending on the party who made the calculation.
In the amfori BSCI audit, factories must carry out a self-evaluation of a level of pay adequate for living for their workers. It is good that they are required to do this exercise, and they are encouraged to increase their workers’ pay. However, it is necessary to engage in further discussion on the level of pay that is adequate for living. In addition, we need more extensive international co-operation with other players through channels such as amfori. An increase in country-specific minimum pay levels would be the most efficient means for improving the standard of living.