The palm oil industry is the first sector in global agricultural production to have a certification scheme that fully requires the implementation of a Decent Living Wage (DLW). The RSPO has developed guidelines to help its members implement a DLW on their plantations.These guidelines follow the methodology by the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC).
The guidelines enable RSPO members to assess whether they are already paying a DLW and, if they aren’t, it helps them develop a plan to do so. The GLWC describes a living wage as “the remuneration received for a standard work week by a worker in a particular place sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family”.
When workers receive a DLW, they are able to provide their families with a decent standard of living. The guidelines take into account needs such as decent housing, sanitation facilities, adequate clean water supply, medical care, and the educational needs of children. They account for transport and clothing costs and costs for unexpected events.
NGOs, governments, and companies in different countries are working to ensure that palm oil industry workers and smallholders earn a DLW. In the project ‘Responsible and Sustainable Business in Indonesian Palm Oil Plantations’ two civil society organisations are collaborating with local governments and the private sector to develop a framework for decent living and sustainability in twenty villages. Promoting sustainable palm oil production is a main priority.