Tchibo calls on more brands to join forces for living wages in Cambodia

In a high-level dialogue on living wages in Cambodia with the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, the former German vice chancellor Joschka Fischer and other guests on 3 April 2019, Nanda Bergstein, Director for corporate responsibility at Tchibo, called on the support of other brands: “To achieve a living wage for garment workers in Cambodia and in other countries, more brands need to sign up to the ACT commitments. We especially call upon the members of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles”.

“It is estimated that over 60% of garment workers in Cambodia suffer from lack of nutrition. ACT wants to change that. But we cannot do it alone”.

Nanda Bergstein, Tchibo

Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector is a major production hub for many Western fashion brands and the country’s predominant export sector. It employs over 700,000 workers, the vast majority of which are women. Due to low wage levels, many workers struggle to meet their daily needs and those of their families.

ACT member brands want to change this. They have committed to work to contribute to a living wage for their garment, textile and footwear supply chain workers by supporting collective bargaining at industry level through their purchasing practices.

Trade unions and employer representatives in Cambodia have started a process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement at industry level. Once a collective agreement is signed which increases wages and guarantees freedom of association, Cambodia will benefit from the country support commitments by all ACT member brands. This will support the country in becoming a world-class garment production hub.

Members of ACT are IndustriALL Global Union and Arcadia, ASOS, Bestseller, C&A, Cotton On, Debenhams, Esprit, H&M, Inditex, Kmart, N Brown Group Plc, New Look, Next, Pentland, Primark, PVH, Target, Tchibo, Tesco, and zLabels.

Currently close to 50% of exporting garment and footwear factories in Cambodia produce for ACT member brands. Employers in Cambodia hope that more of the industry could benefit from wider brand membership of ACT after concluding a collective agreement.

“ACT is the only approach that has the practical tools for closing the living wage gap.”

Jenny Holdcroft, IndustriALL

At the Tchibo event, Jenny Holdcroft, Assistant General-Secretary of IndustriALL and Thomas Linemayr, CEO of Tchibo, also emphasized the importance of supply chain due diligence legislation that would ensure a level playing field for brands.
From left to right: Dr. Frank Hoffer (ACT), Caspar Dohmen (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Nanda Bergstein (Tchibo), Joschka Fischer (former vice-chancellor of Germany), Dr. Hajo Schumacher (Journalist), Jenny Holdcroft (IndustriALL), Thomas Linemayr (Tchibo), Marie Nasemann (Fashion Blogger), Gyde Jensen (FDP), Gunther Beger (BMZ), Barbara Meyer (Model and Sustainabiility Ambassador.