A recent Quartz story found that an almost-comically small increase in the MSRP of Indian-made t-shirts — 15 cents — could literally lift the entire Indian supply chain above the poverty line.
“This small increase can lift wages by up to 225% in India, closing the living-wage gap for the most vulnerable workers,” the article says.
India contributes a disproportionate amount to the global apparel industry, but, according to Quartz’s research, their living-wage gap can still range from 34 percent to 207 percent below what’s “required for a decent standard of living for a worker and their family.”
A mere 11-cent price increase on t-shirts, the story says, would close the gap for Indian cotton workers, and another four cents would close it for textile workers as well (the two most vulnerable groups with the least amount of leverage). Together, those increases would result in a price hike of less than one percent at retail.
While it sounds simple, the story notes that there are a number of roadblocks impeding a unilateral living wage, including anonymous textile sourcing, a lack of auditing methods, and, an unwavering consumer expectation for dirt-cheap goods.
And as long as those impasses remain, the stats will stay the same: “42% of all workers globally are in insecure jobs and have no social protections, 29% remain in moderate to extreme poverty, and about 25 million people are in slavery.”
You can read more about it at Quartz.