Living wage in the retail sector
Insights

Living wage in the retail sector

2021 kicked off another year of uncertainty, we saw the proliferation of lockdowns and further restrictions on our ability to travel, as well as no end of supply chain disruption, be it caused by the pandemic or broader economic factors. That said, the overarching sentiment was a return to business as usual, if only from the perspective of a new normal. This thinking translated into our engagement on a living wage. At the start of the pandemic, we felt sympathy for retailers dealing with the devastating consequences of Covid-19 with furlough, redundancies and employee safety concerns being top of mind. However, in 2021, we took the view that there was no longer any excuse for inertia on this topic.

As highlighted in our 2020 update, the importance of improved employee pay and benefits increased. This is backed up by data disclosed in the World Economic Forum, The Global Risks Report 2022, where the ‘livelihood crises’ was flagged as the second most immediate threat to the world according to respondents. Here, the report notes that the “structural deterioration of work prospects and/or standards for the working-age population: unemployment, underemployment, lower wages, fragile contracts, erosion of worker rights etc” could cause significant negative impacts for many industries and countries over the next 10 years.

Through our engagement on a living wage, whilst we note some progress in terms of increased pay and benefits to the direct employees of retail companies, improvements for workers in the supply chain have been more limited. Through our work with collaborative investor initiatives and as highlighted in the Platform Living Wage Financials (PLWF) 2021 annual report, we note enhanced supply chain due diligence on the part of investee companies, for example, in the form of on the ground wage data collection. However, tangible improvements to worker pay is taking longer to come to fruition.

13 May 2022
Tim Bonds
Tim Bonds
Associate, Analyst, Responsible Investment
Tenisha Elliott
Tenisha Elliott
Senior Associate, Analyst, Responsible Investment
Nina Roth
Nina Roth
Director, Responsible Investment
Share article
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Key topics
Related topics
Listen on Stitcher badge
Share article
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Key topics
Related topics

PDF

Living wage in the retail sector

Risk Disclaimer

Views and opinions have been arrived at by Columbia Threadneedle Investments and should not be considered to be a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any companies that may be mentioned.

The information, opinions, estimates or forecasts contained in this document were obtained from sources reasonably believed to be reliable and are subject to change at any time.

Related Insights

19 June 2024

Sally Springer

Senior Thematic Research Analyst, Global Research

Human capital – supply: the impact of demographic transition on investments

Working populations are in decline, with the demographic dividend that has supported economic growth in many developed markets under threat. This will have a direct impact on the firms in which we invest.
Read time - 8 min
14 June 2024

Natalia Luna

Senior Thematic Investment Analyst, Global Research

US elections: the Inflation Reduction Act and the risk of repeal

A full reversal is considered unlikely, but we believe the possibility of a partial repeal, which could see tax credits and funding programmes weakened, is underappreciated. Here is how Columbia Threadneedle will assess this risk and the potential implications for the most exposed sectors.
Read time - 3 min
21 May 2024

Pauline Grange

Portfolio Manager, Global Equities

Water in crisis – searching for solutions

With too much, too little or too toxic water the world is facing a water crisis. We explore key issues and challenges before highlighting some of the companies promoting better water management.
Read time - 3 min
24 June 2024

Melda Mergen

Global Head of Equity

Equity outlook: High valuations and higher-for-longer rates

Despite some short-term concerns, we see opportunities in stocks around the globe.
Watch time - 3 min
21 June 2024

James Coke

Fund Manager & Co-head of Institutional UK Real Estate

Emma Gullifer

Assistant Fund Manager

Green to gold: realising opportunities from the carbon transition

We explore the interventions required to monetise green energy, and how investors might benefit from the carbon transition.
Read time - 2 min
20 June 2024

Gary Smith

Client Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income

What do geopolitical risks mean for central bank FX reserves managers?

Two major industry surveys show that adjusting for geopolitical challenges will impact the way foreign exchange reserves are managed
Read time - 8 min
true
true

Risk Disclaimer

Views and opinions have been arrived at by Columbia Threadneedle Investments and should not be considered to be a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any companies that may be mentioned.

The information, opinions, estimates or forecasts contained in this document were obtained from sources reasonably believed to be reliable and are subject to change at any time.

You may also like

Investment approach

Teamwork defines us and is fundamental to our investment approach, which is structured to facilitate the generation, assessment and implementation of good, strong investment ideas for our portfolios.

Funds and Prices

Columbia Threadneedle Investments has a comprehensive range of investment funds catering for a broad range of objectives.

Our Capabilities

We offer a broad range of actively managed investment strategies and solutions covering global, regional and domestic markets and asset classes.