The objective of ASC’s living wage strategy is that certified farms and feed mills pay their workers a living wage.
A living wage is defined by the Global Living Wage Coalition as “the remuneration received for a standard workweek by a worker in a particular place sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs including provision for unexpected event.”
ASC will achieve this through requirements on wage measurement, wage benchmarking and supporting producers to develop a wage improvement plan. ASC will initially focus on measurement and improvement, recognising that the journey to paying a living wage is long and involved and will engage with key stakeholders in industry, civil society, and government to build support for an enabling environment that supports a broader uptake of living wage.
Achieving a living wage across ASC-certified facilities in all producer countries is a long-term goal. Each of the 50+ countries where ASC certified farms are located, differs in terms of minimum wage requirements and the gap between prevailing and living wages. At the same time, each species has different price and retail structures that should be considered, and producers are not expected to absorb increased labour costs suddenly and without support.
As data is collected and ASC better understands the wage gaps by country and species, ASC will continue to research appropriate strategies and tools to assist producers in closing gaps, which may include partnerships with retailers and other supply chain partners.
In November 2019, the ASC Technical Advisory Group approved work on living wage and ASC subsequently joined the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC) to collaborate with other certification schemes on this work, adopting their definition of living wage and using the Anker Research Institute living wage benchmarks.
In December 2022, ASC began a pilot project together with IDH – using the Salary Matrix, an online wage measurement tool developed by IDH – to analyse and verify living wage gaps on aquaculture farms in three target countries. The goals of this pilot are to better understand wage gaps and wage drivers in aquaculture, understand the cost and complexity of this tool, and collect feedback from farms and auditors on ASC’s draft living wage requirements. This pilot is scheduled for completion by May 2024.
In January 2023, ASC established a Technical Working Group on Living Wage, which provides input into draft living wage indicators and a wage measurement methodology for the Farm Standard.
Draft living wage indicators and methodology went out to public consultation in September 2023.
Indicators have been revised to incorporate feedback received during this consultation. There will be an opportunity to provide further opinions and perspectives on living wage indicators in the final round of public consultation on the ASC Farm Standard in April 2024. More information on this will soon be made available here.
Contact person: Jean Johnson