Farmers cannot invest in their farms if they can’t cover their costs of production and generate a margin for reinvestment. One of the Food Lab’s key tenants to a sustainable supply chain has always been farmer profitability. In smallholder-based systems, farmer poverty rates are high and many lack access to basic social services, the Food Lab has worked with partners for years to understand levers of change. This work has included collaboration with companies, cooperatives, NGOs and governments to bring awareness and change to supply chains plagued by poverty. Realizing that there was a need for more information, conversation and guidance, the Food Lab worked with GIZ and ISEAL to create the Living Income Community of Practice (LICoP), an alliance of actors from various sectors aiming to improve smallholder incomes.
Since 2015 the LICoP has provided a space for learning, sharing and guidance toward measurement and action. Businesses, governments and NGOs engage through in-person events and webinars to share best practices for measuring and “closing the gap” between actual incomes and a living income. In addition, GIZ, ISEAL and the Food Lab work to bring awareness to the concept of a Living Income and have been working with partners to create guidance on the topic.
Developing consistent and impactful corporate strategies for living income is an often mentioned challenge of our corporate partners. To help meet this need, the Food Lab teamed up with GIZ and Loening to create a Living Income Toolkit: Guiding steps towards living income in the supply chain. The modular guide is intended for companies interested in learning more about Living Income and provides concrete steps, resources and examples for how a company can develop and mainstream living income strategies in the raw material sourcing.
In the coming year the Food Lab will be working directly with Food & Beverage companies to test the toolkit, learning what resonates internally and what information is still needed. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Toolkit by attending the September 22 LICOP webinar and learn more about the Food Lab’s work in Living Income here.