04. October 2021

Ensuring a decent standard of living for all

4th/5th/6th October 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in severe economic and social disruption, challenging public health, food systems and affecting lives and livelihoods of millions of producers. Added to that, the most vulnerable are at the greatest risk from climate change. Escaping poverty is becoming increasingly difficult, as is building pathways to living income for rural families. What can we do to support climate-resilient livelihoods that ensure and sustain enough income for families to afford a decent standard of living? What efforts can be taken to prevent producers from falling into extreme poverty? Immediate and purposeful action is needed and that requires solidarity and support across a network of actors. We aim to discuss what has worked and find innovative resolutions to better mitigate and improve this situation.

This workshop was open to all entities and commodities committed to learning on the topic and improving their own efforts towards delivering a decent standard of living. Run over 3 days, this workshop consisted of various segments held in multiple languages. 

Workshop sessions resources

Session 1. Practicalities in mainstreaming the living income concept

​This session introduced the the concept of mainstreaming living income. We discussed why and how practitioners are approaching living income in practice, the main challenges encountered, and the data/tools needed to support organisations in the process. 

​In this discussion, we heard from Nestle, The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), Cordaid, and human rights and business advisor Noura Hanna on their experiences applying the living income concept. We also learnt from Akvo and Living Income Community of Practice experts on important considerations when designing your measurement approach.

Moderated by: Sheila Senathirajah (ISEAL) 

Speakers in plenary: Yan Wyss (Nestlé), Karène Volpato (UEBT), and Karin Slobbe (Cordaid)

Discussant: Noura Hanna (Hanna Advisory services)

Session 2. Introduction to the concept of decent income (in Spanish)

​In this session, we promoted a common understanding of the concept of decent income as well as provided an overview of existing resources and participation options in the Latin American region, through expert case studies. 

Moderated by: Christina Archer (Sustainable Food Lab)

Speakers in plenary: Jeremy Dufour (Olam), Jorge Figueroa Rojas (Ministerio de Desarrollo Agrario y Riego), Beate Weiskopf (GISCO), María Isabel Ramirez (Technoserve Proyecto MOCCA), and Enrique Calderón Hidalgo (CLAC)

Session 3. What is credible and effective work in living income?

​We had an interactive session discussing the principles of a credible living income program and what the necessary elements for effectiveness are. We considered the data needed to make practical goals toward farmers achieving a living income, how multi-stakeholder efforts should be structured to maximise impact, and approaches which have proven effective toward closing the gap between actual incomes and living incomes. 

We also learnt about the building blocks of credible, effective living income programs from IDH, Dutch Initative on Sustainable Cocoa, Symrise, and Wageningen University. We then went into smaller groups where organisations could showcase the work they had been doing and their practical successes and challenges.

Moderated by: Stephanie Daniels (SFL)

Speakers in plenary: Alex Arnaud Assanvo (Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative), Gael Lescornec (IDH/DISCO), Hamish Taylor (Symrise), and Yuca Waarts (Wageningen University)

Breakout groups included key experts: 

​1. : Price and Trading Terms – what can we learn from the front runners?

Speakers: Grayson Caldwell (Bellwether Coffee), Monica Terveer (Sustainable Harvest), and Paul Schoenmaker (Tony’s Chocolonely)

Moderator: Don Seville (SFL)

​2. Income Diversification– Testing Assumptions for Effective Smart-mix of Interventions

Speakers: Ashlee Tuttleman (IDH), Rupert Day (Cargill), and Robin Hooft van Huijsduijnen (Sucafina) 

Moderator: Friederike Martin (GIZ)

​3. Best Practices for Credible and Effective Living Income Programs – view from civil society and investors

Speakers: Uwe Gneiting (Oxfam) and Stina Nilsson (SustainAnalytics)

Moderator: Kristin Komives, ISEAL Alliance

Session 4. Can Living Income be the silver bullet for due diligence obligation?

​In this session, we discussed living income in the context of due diligence legislation and considered whether living income could be the silver bullet for due diligence obligation. We started off in a plenary discussion on the risks and opportunities for smallholder farmers in relation to human rights due diligence, where we heard from Tchibo, the Secretaría de Agricultura y Desarollo Rural and the Fairtrade Advocacy Office.

We then broke off into smaller groups to discuss the roles of different actors in terms of due diligence obligations in the work towards living income for smallholders farmers. The discussions focused on the roles of governments, private sector, sustainability standards and producers.

Panel discussion speakers: Elena Lunder (Fairtrade Advocacy Office), Reena Eddiks (Tchibo), and Santiago Jose Argüello Campos (Secretaría de Agricultura y Desarollo Rural)