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The Netherlands plays an important role in the horticulture sector, both at home and abroad. Therefore, next to our activities in East and Southern Africa we also engage and influence Dutch businesses (e.g. retailers), government and certification bodies to ensure better working conditions for women. Through the Living Wage Lab, Hivos and Fairfood bring together stakeholders so they can use the Lab to test and develop pilots, policies, business models and organize other forms of collaboration to address the issue of living wages.

Public consumer campaign

Consumer pressure can be instrumental in convincing companies to provide products from countries or enterprises that respect human rights. This is why we use public campaigns, such as Small Change, Big Deal in the Netherlands that targets the flower industry, to inform consumers and raise public awareness on working conditions of women workers and living wages, to create social pressure on Dutch growers, traders and retailers to change their practices and increase the market share of sustainably produced flowers on the Dutch market. Social pressure on companies in the Netherlands can thus have a direct impact on improving corporate social responsibility in Africa.

There is a separate campaign website for the Dutch campaign (in the Dutch language). Please visit: www.smallchangebigdeal.nl

Women@Work also directly targets Dutch companies to ensure they adhere to internationally agreed labor standards, the Decent Work agenda of the ILO, the OECD guidelines for corporate social responsibility, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The floriculture industry is a major economic sector in the Netherlands, and Dutch growers play an important role in East Africa. We are party to the Dutch CSR sector agreement on flowers and plants between Dutch horticulture businesses, Dutch government and civil society organizations, to make sure that gender equity is part of this agreement and value chain actors contribute to an increase in sustainably produced and traded horticulture products. On the international level, Hivos is a founding member of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) that promotes sustainable production of flowers.

Living Wage Lab

Earning a living wage that enables workers to meet their basic needs is a human right. Yet for growers and retailers in the African flower sector, it seems a distant dot on the horizon. Since wages are a persistent problem in many global supply chains and cannot be solved by growers alone, Hivos and Fairfood have launched the Living Wage Lab. It brings together Netherlands-based stakeholders in the agri-food sector to develop and experiment with innovative solutions for living wages in their supply chains. The Lab is attended by participants from the Dutch government, growers, traders, retailers, NGOs, certification bodies and researchers, and supplements the ideals, learnings and efforts of the Women@Work campaign.

There is a separate website for the Living Wage Lab with more information. Please visit: www.livingwagelab.org

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