Blog: Put your money where your heart is. How you can support Living Wage Employers as they reopen?
It’s starting to feel a bit like normal life; the high-street has reopened, #SuperSaturday has been and gone, a summer holiday is suddenly a possibility again, and yet after the last few months everything feels like a brave new world. The retail and hospitality industries are more reliant than ever on customers returning to spend money with them, and that includes Living Wage Employers who have invested in making sure their staff are paid enough to live on.
The Covid-19 crisis has had a stark effect on the high-street as we knew it. Having already taken the financial hit of being furloughed for months, workers are facing an unpredictable future, with thousands of retail and hospitality jobs being lost on a weekly basis as businesses attempt to rebuild in an uncertain market or even fall into administration. Pre-crisis, retail and hospitality jobs were the most likely roles to be paid less than the real Living Wage, and recent reports on the UK garment manufacturing industry have brought the issues of illegally low pay and poor working conditions in clothing supply chains into public consciousness once again.
However, we’ve recently seen a huge acceleration towards new ways of shopping and consuming; people are embracing buying consciously and locally, and taking advantage of rapid and playful innovations in digital commerce. It seems as though many of these positive changes are here to stay, and the Living Wage can play a role in helping you choose which businesses you’ll support as we look to build back better in a post-crisis world.
Pre-crisis, accredited Living Wage businesses across the UK were already demonstrating their values in lots of different ways, and this values-led way of doing business has also accelerated in response to the crisis. The Living Wage Employer logo is the mark of a responsible employer, showcasing one clear way you can align your values with your spending.
Where do I find my nearest Living Wage businesses?
First things first, if you’re looking to throw your support and spending behind Living Wage Employers, you may be wondering - how do I find them?
- Spot the logo!
There’s a few ways to hunt down your nearest Living Wage businesses. If you’re one for window shopping or are generally out and approach, then make sure you look out for the Living Wage Employer logo, which businesses often proudly feature in their windows or by their counters - it’s bright blue, yellow, orange and green so you should be able to catch it a mile off (see logo below). If you’re shopping online, businesses often feature it at the bottom of their homepage or on ‘About us’ pages.
But if you’re wanting to be a little more planned with your approach to shop ethically and support Living Wage businesses, then we recommend the following:
- Download Cogo’s app
Cogo makes ethical living easy. With their map, you can find all our accredited Living Wage businesses in your local area, and further afield. Cogo will also suggest simple spending swaps to Living Wage Employers and if you’re interested, you can also track how much of your spending goes directly to businesses that promise their staff a Living Wage. Pretty amazing right!
- Use our online map
Our online map has every Living Wage Employer, including those who offer services. Well worth checking out, to see if everyone you expect to see is on there.
- Follow us on instagram
We’ve begun featuring a Living Wage Employer every day that you can support and spend with - give us a follow to discover new Living Wage buys.
Rewarding staff fairly by paying them the Living Wage and providing them with Living Hours is one of the best ways businesses can play their part in creating the world as it should be, and we can all use this pivotal moment in time to put the Living Wage on their agenda. Of course, having had to close their doors for over three months it is a delicate time for many retail and hospitality businesses, but there are some who have bucked the trend. Well-known food delivery services have been busier than ever, and online fashion brands, warehouse-based e-commerce companies, and supermarkets have seen an increase in sales as a result of changes in spending habits throughout the crisis.
However, their profits haven’t necessarily been passed on to their front-line staff. These key workers, who have been selflessly facing risks to support their communities and to keep the country fed and provided with essential goods, often only earn the minimum wage, and so many struggle to make ends meet.
“I want to see my favourite businesses pay the Living Wage - What can i do?”
So you’ve had a look at our online map and Cogo, but your favourite brand or business doesn't seem to be paying the real Living Wage - Could you use your consumer power to influence change, and win more workers a wage they can live on? Here’s three ways you can activate your consumer power:
- Tell brands what you think with Wherefrom: Wherefrom offer conscious consumers the chance to rate products on their sustainability, including what you’d like them to change (e.g. paying a Living Wage) - brands are listening and reacting to what you say.
- Switch your spending Using apps like Cogo, you can find new ways to switch up your spending habits to Living Wage Employers, for example - you can swap your bog standard loo roll for Living Wage Employer Cheekypanda’s bamboo roll, or your weekly shop to a Farmdrop food delivery.
- Tell them! Sometimes nothing beats just telling businesses that you’d like to see them consider becoming a Living Wage Employer. Businesses often encourage feedback from their loyal customers and often change on the back of it, so you can always write to them/tweet them and politely explain this is an important value to you as a regular customer.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Use your consumer power to support Living Wage Employers, and encourage others to commit to a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.