Ben & Jerry’s parent company announces new living wage initiative

Photo (c) Jantanee Phoolmas - Getty Images

The consumer goods giant has pledged to help its workers break a cycle of poverty

Unilever -- the parent company of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Dove soap, and hundreds of other brands in 190 countries -- has launched a living wage initiative that will ensure all of its suppliers are on track to earn a living wage by 2030. 

The company defined “living wage” as one that covered a family's basic needs "and helped them break the cycle of poverty.” It said its commitment represents a critical step toward achieving a more just and inclusive society. 

"The two biggest threats that the world currently faces are climate change and social inequality. The past year has undoubtedly widened the social divide, and decisive and collective action is needed,” said Unilever CEO Alan Jope. 

“Our ambition is to improve living standards for low-paid workers worldwide. We will therefore ensure that everyone who directly provides goods and services to Unilever earns at least a living wage or income, by 2030,” the company vowed.

Expanding its pledge

People who are directly employed by Unilever are already paid “at least living wage,” according to the company. Unilever said its aim is to go a step further by extending its pledge to workers in manufacturing and agriculture. Small businesses will also receive financial support and expanded access to new skills and technology. 

“We believe the actions we are committing to will make Unilever a better, stronger business; ready for the huge societal changes we are experiencing today — changes that will only accelerate. Without a healthy society, there cannot be a healthy business,” Jope said.

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