Finally on the road to a Living Wage: Ouattara starts a car wash
Eosta’s first Living Wage fund, for mango packers in Burkina Faso, has commenced operation
Waddinxveen /Bobo Dioulasso, 10-2-2022 - Ouattara Awa is happy: she has received microcredit to buy a high-pressure jet washer and used it to set up a car washing business to boost her family’s income. She is the breadwinner for no fewer than eleven relatives. It is impossible for people like Ouattara to obtain credit from a bank in Burkina Faso, and the interest rate is extremely high. Eosta’s organic Living Wage mangos have given her new options. The Burkina Living Wage fund was festively inaugurated today (10 February). Twenty of the mango supplier’s packing employees will be helped by the fund, and this number will increase every year.
The first Living Wage mangos in Europe
In 2020, Eosta launched mangos from Burkina Faso as the first fresh product with a Living Wage-inclusive price on the European food market. The price is 10 cents per kilogram of mangos higher – if all mangos can be sold at that price, this would be sufficient for all of the Burkinabe supplier’s employees to close the Living Wage gap. It became apparent that particularly customers in the health food sector were prepared to participate. Biohof Achleitner in Austria was the first business to embrace the Living Wage message, and this was greatly appreciated by its consumers.
Seven containers of Living Wage mangos
Eosta was able to sell seven of the thirty containers of mangos from Burkina Faso with a Living Wage premium in 2020 and 2021, which generated a premium of 13,500 Euros. This encouraged the employees of Fruiteq to decide to set up a fund with which they can help themselves to improve their standard of living. To start, 20 employees are currently receiving microcredit to start a business. The expectation is that the market for Living Wage mangos will grow, thereby increasing the size of the fund every year and enabling the Living Wage gap to be further reduced.
Income for the entire year
Ilboudo Moctar is the chairman of the employees’ foundation that manages the money: “The fund helps us, as employees of Fruiteq, to generate a second income in the nine months when we do not work for Fruiteq.” Namely because the mango season lasts just three months. The employees depend on other income for the rest of the year. This is why the employees decided not to pay out the saved money as wages yet, but first use it for microcredit investments. With a fund, the total amount is maintained and more people can be helped.
“Dear purchaser, which organic mango would you like? This fair mango or the slightly cheaper one? It is cheaper by 10 cents per kilogram, but then the packers in Africa won’t receive a Living Wage. Your choice.”
Invitation to retail: Mangos will be back again in March. Help to close the gap!
QD-manager Gert-Jan Lieffering was project leader at Eosta: “This festive launch is an invitation to our retail partners to participate and ascertain how we can jointly reduce the income gap. It is unacceptable that we perpetuate poverty in the countries from which we import our food. So this is an emphatic invitation to customers to buy our organic mangos with a Living Wage premium. We will be receiving more delicious organic mangos from Burkina Faso in March.”
The world needs Living Wages now
Eosta started its first Living Wage pilot scheme in Kenya in 2018. Since that time, a concrete approach has been devised for mangos from Burkina Faso, avocados from Kenya and passion fruit from Peru. Eosta expects that the demand for Living Wage products will continue to grow. Volkert Engelsman, CEO of Eosta: “Companies no longer get away with the exploitation of workers in far-off countries. From 2023, the EU will compel major companies to submit reports on their sustainability impact. But why would you wait for that? The world needs Living Wages now.”
IDH: “This project is extremely important to us”
The IDH Foundation (Sustainable Trade Initiative) was involved in the project from the very start. Sonia Cordera of IDH: “Eosta’s project is extremely important for us because it is the first Living Wage project that actually tackles the issue of how you can close the gap. It is a complete approach and an inspiring example. We hope that other companies in the fruit and vegetable sector will also start using it.”
About Living Wage
A Living Wage is a wage that makes it possible to live a life with dignity and rise out of poverty, and it is usually significantly higher than the minimum wage. The Living Wage also includes the costs of education and health, and savings for exceptional situations. This facilitates structural improvements in the long term. It is still a new expression – you cannot actually find any products that guarantee a Living Wage in high-risk countries in supermarkets today.
Eosta, with Nature & More as its consumer trade mark and transparency system, is Europe’s best known distributor of organic fruit and vegetables. Eosta is known for its sustainability campaigns such as Living Wages, True Cost of Food and Dr. Goodfood. In 2018 the company won the King William I Plaque for Sustainable Entrepreneurship, in 2019 the European Business Award for the Environment and in 2021 the Ecologic Climate Change Award. See Also www.eosta.com en www.natureandmore.com.
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