Paying a living wage could be a step toward global economic and environmental sustainability, finds a first-of-its-kind study by the University of Surrey.
A living wage is the amount a worker needs to earn in order to be able to afford a decent, but not luxurious, standard of living. For workers in the clothing industry supply chain, who often live in relatively poor countries, the living wage would roughly amount to a doubling of existing wages.
In a paper published by the journal Ecological Economics, experts from the University of Surrey used a global model to assess how climate and employment goals would be impacted by paying a living wage to garment industry workers in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC).
The study found that paying a living wage would increase Western European clothing prices by 12.5 percent. Researchers found that under a range of assumptions of how consumers would react to the price increase, BRIC employment went up while global carbon emissions remained roughly the same: more jobs and less poverty for the same amount of carbon.
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