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Congratulations to Nudie Jeans for winning the FWF Best Practice Award 2014. Both the jury – a panel of industry experts – and the audience praised the Swedish denim brand for its project ‘Paying our share of a living wage’.
Nudie Jeans is a Swedish denim brand founded in 2001, and based in Gothenburg, Sweden. It sells products in 30 countries around the world. Since the Fall/Winter 2012 collection, all of Nudie’s jeans are made of 100% organic cotton.
Since 2012, Nudie Jeans has been working on a method to pay living wages for goods produced at its supplier in India. The local wage benchmark was developed by the supplier based on a survey among the employees and consultations with local stakeholders. Costs are calculated to cover food, education, clothing, housing, medical expenses as well as savings for a family of four. This living wage benchmark is revised annually and for 2014 is set at 9,350 INR.
Asking the factory to be in charge of this benchmark strengthens its commitment to the living wage payments. Nudie Jeans pays between 18 to 50 cents extra per garment depending on the style. This is 4 to 5 percent of the FOB price. Payments are made to around 1,000 workers, and payment is verified by a local NGO as well as via audits conducted by Fair Wear Foundation.
Since Nudie Jeans only buys 3.5% of the factory’s production, workers do not receive these wage levels for all of their hours. Nudie is in the process of contacting other brands to support this initiative. The jury commented on the importance of involving the factory in developing this process, and on the importance of bringing other brands on board. They also noted that Nudie specifies the wage payment as a separate line item on invoices. This provides important transparency during negotiations. They also congratulated Nudie Jeans on their willingness to experiment with a topic that many brands are still hesitant to explore.