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Wage levels are an issue of concern across the globe as individuals, companies and governments wrestle with how wages paid to workers relate to costs of living, corporate and national competitiveness, profitability and broader macroeconomic trends and challenges.
This report examines wages in the tea industry with a focus in three case study areas: Malawi, West Java (Indonesia) and Assam (India). It looks at hired labour on plantations and, in particular, tea pluckers.
Researchers found a number of deep rooted and complex factors keeping wages low. A key problem is that pay is set for the whole sector - there is no difference in pay from one plantation to the next - and that it is pegged to the legal minimum wage which is often well below the level needed for meet a family's basic needs. Other issues include the huge variation in the quality and take up of 'in-kind' benefits such as childcare or housing and the fact that workers, particularly women who make up the majority of the workforce, have little say in negotiations over pay.
Recommendations from the Caspian dialogues include the following:
A vivid debate is taking place across the world questioning the social role of business and balance of power between institutions. This paper attempts to synthesise the reports prepared by various authors, who live and work in their homeland in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), on the notion of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR).
The paper clarifies that the drivers for CSR may be determined outside the system, such as CSR practices of multinational companies, regulations imposed upon by international agreements, work of NGOs, academic research etc.
The author finds that CSR, in the MENA context, is a generic notion that can fit different purposes in different contexts. Conclusions are that:
Furthermore, the document points that it will take some time before the local societies will play a significant role in driving the CSR in the region. This change will involve a shift in values towards universal values, a process which will continue to be driven by democratisation and globalisation.
How can oil companies and consortia working in South Sudan (a newly independent country) better manage and mitigate the social and environmental challenges that so urgently need addressing? This research aims to enhance understandings of the current perceptions and practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) of oil companies and consortia in South Sudan.
The document highlights the following findings:
Recommendations are based around four key areas:
Ethical trade as an approach to supply chain management has mushroomed in recent years. Northern companies are becoming increasingly concerned with the ‘ethics’ of their operations and the risks to reputation and productivity posed by bad employment practices in global supply chains. But can voluntary private sector codes really improve employment conditions in supply chains?
In this issue of Insights, we bring together not only current research but some stakeholder perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing ethical trade.
Globalisation is one of the most controversial development issues of the day. ‘Globaphobes’ attribute most of the ills of the world to globalisation. The anti-globalisation movement has focused attention on the extent to which decisions affecting the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people are made in international fora – at which the poor have no voice. Globalisation is seen as marginalising a large part of the world’s
population and contributing to increased international inequality.
Developing countries are now being asked to follow developed countries in the privatisation of goods and services previously provided by the state. It is argued that these countries will gain from the creation of efficient markets which offer their best chance to establish competitiveness, leading to economic growth.
But critics claim that privatisation damages the quality of public services and undermines public accountability. Conventional forms of regulation address these two issues; but is it also possible to regulate for development that reduces poverty?
The debate over genetically-modified (GM) crops is one of the most controversial and fiercely contested of recent times. While media coverage often focuses on disagreements between the United States and Europe, perhaps the main battleground today is the developing world. It is here that large markets are
emerging, consumer resistance is less organised and claims that GM crops can help to alleviate hunger and food insecurity are tested.
Business is everywhere. Some is crucial to development, while some is implicated in poverty, human rights abuses and environmental destruction. In recent years there has been an upturn in corporations taking responsibility for development challenges. Research shows this is a mixed blessing whilst development practitioners and policy makers could engage more critically to ensure real benefits for development.
Developing countries cannot achieve sustainable growth and poverty reduction unless they integrate into the world economy. Trade reforms are necessary, but not enough to maximise the potential benefits of trade. Negotiations at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December, 2005 should also focus on establishing an ‘aid for trade’ mechanism.
This issue of id21 insights suggests that improving market access, which includes removing barriers that impede developing countries’ ability to export goods and services should be the highest priority, complemented with expanded ‘aid for trade’.
Pro-poor tourism should increase the benefits of the tourism industry for poor people. It is a term increasingly used by several development agencies, but what does it mean in practice?
This issue of id21 insights, shows that some countries and businesses are beginning to achieve more
direct benefits from pro-poor tourism.
This report comprises 8 papers that were presented at a conference organised in Ghana in 2008, on the theme: ‘Beyond Foreign Direct Investment in Africa’s Mining Sector’. The papers explore various financial and practical aspects of mining sector reform in sub-Saharan Africa.
The report points that national policies on mining in Africa have not been adequate to optimise the benefits or translate marginal benefits into building the productive capacities of local communities in mining areas. Thus, in order to enhance the developmental potential of mining, the authors suggest the renegotiation of mining contracts and the revision of mining regimes.
The paper’s main findings can be summarised as follows:
This working paper analyses the impact of privatisation on the environment, where the level of privatisation is endogenously determined. The paper clarifies that the production process in many industries emits pollutants, which damages the environment. Yet, the extent of such environmental damage is likely to depend on the intensity of product market competition, which implies that privatisation can generate environmental outcomes.
The document’s main findings are as follows:
Accordingly, the author concludes the following:
The document suggests extending the research to a more general framework which considers the bargaining between the “green lobby” and the “economic welfare lobby”. Moreover, it suggests that researchers extend its analysis by considering consumption related pollution.
The Human Rights and Business Country Risk Portal (based at the Danish Institute for Human Rights) will create the first freely available website where companies can access country-specific information on human rights risks alongside tools and advice for managing those risks.
The aim of the portal is to enable companies world-wide to better understand and address their human rights impacts, to ensure that their business activities benefit all societal groups in their local business environments.
The Human Rights and Business Country Risk Portal will:
The Human Rights and Business Project has received seed funding, and is currently seeking additional donors and corporate partners (Spring 2010).
This methodology for Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) manual aims to systematically identify, predict and respond to projects' potential impacts on human rights. Experience has shown that standard assessments, those of environmental, social or health impacts cannot capture the full range of issues that might trigger or exacerbate human rights violations. The HRIA addresses this gap, differing from other assessments in both extent and perspective.
The goal of this methodology is to assist in the creation of valid, useful and ultimately meaningful human rights impact assessments. This followed the United Nation’s Special Representative on Human Rights and Business Professor John Ruggie's presentation to the Human Rights Council with a framework for delegating human rights and responsibilities between governments and companies.
The process of creating and using HRIA is still in its early phases. Their relevance will depend on a continuing improvement of method, capacity and result which can only be accomplished through the sharing of experience and information between companies and assessors.
The methodology looks at HRIA assessment sources, goals, and types. It covers basic concepts and looks provides five steps for implementation:
The methodology offers recommendations for policies, procedures, structures and action. It also provides an appendix of other tools and selected best practices.
The presentation gives an overview of important aspects that need to be followed for fundraising efforts to yield results.
It highlights the following: