Mastercard is aligning with clothing retailers in a global effort to digitally pay factory garment workers to ensure they consistently get paid, the company said in a press release on Thursday (Sept. 26).
Industry partners include Levi Strauss & Co., Marks & Spencer and VF Corporation. The program will also work with the nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). BSR is comprised of a network of more than 250 businesses and partners dedicated to global sustainability.
This new collaboration aims to elevate the welfare of factory workers who lack the opportunity to access the right financial tools for success. Nearly 85 percent of adults in low-income countries receive their wages in cash.
“At Mastercard, our vision is to ultimately build a new ecosystem of partners – garment industry, technology, not-for-profit organizations, factories, banks – that work together to deliver social impact at scale. It’s an important step in helping workers feel safer, be more resilient and more financially independent,” said Sue Kelsey, executive vice president, prepaid solutions, Mastercard.
Digital payroll not only makes for increased transparency, but also saves factories time and money.
“Mastercard is an excellent partner for a pilot program like this, due to the infrastructure they have built around digital payment systems coupled with our longstanding commitment to the well-being of workers,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability for Levi Strauss & Co. “We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the pilot and hope this advances efforts to realize the potential of digital payments to benefit workers across apparel supply chains.”
While much of the world has gone digital in the last decade, the next decade will be all about bringing the holdout segments of the payments and commerce ecosystem online. Whether that’s the cash-based customer, the check-trapped accounts payable department, the legacy-locked credit union, the struggling SMB or the financial institution trying to raise the level of its digital game, the solutions are out there – but getting them locked and loaded into place remains an operational issue.