publication summary

Summary

Voluntary Sustainability Standards: A Squandered Opportunity to Improve Workers’ Wages

By Elizabeth Bennett

The sustainable development agenda has long been linked with social justice, income equality, and workers’ rights. This article argues that voluntary sustainability standards-setting organizations (VSSSOs) can contribute to these goals by requiring employers to pay living wages and actively support collective bargaining. Examining the content of 25 voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) set by 16 systematically selected VSSSOs, this study finds that only 32% of VSS mandate a living wage, and only 16% rigorously support collective bargaining. It argues that supporting national minimum wages is helpful but not sufficient, examines sources of downward pressure on VSS, identifies potential explanations for variation among standards, and briefly describes a new initiative promoting living wage standards. While VSS are not a silver bullet for sustainable development or wage equity, VSSSOs are overlooking a significant opportunity to be a transformative part of a broader solution. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

Year
2017  
Title
Voluntary Sustainability Standards: A Squandered Opportunity to Improve Workers’ Wages  
Journal
Sustainable Development  
Language
English  
Type
Journal  
Academic Publication
yes  

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