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BSR™ is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies and other partners to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR™ develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Their mission is to work with business to create a just and sustainable world. We envision a world in which everyone can lead a prosperous and dignified life within the boundaries of the Earth’s natural resources.


The pandemic has revealed and accentuated the limitations of cash payments: they are time-consuming, insecure, and disempowering for workers. As lockdowns have brought much of the world to a standstill, governments and the private sector alike have turned to digital financial services to make rapid payments at scale. For example, the government of Bangladesh’s COVID-19 support package for the garment sector was available only for employers paying digital wages; this led to over 800 garment factories rapidly digitizing their payroll, and in April 2020, 1.9 million garment workers received the government support package payments into their accounts—with more than half estimated to be paid digitally for the first time.

In global supply chains, this rapid shift to digital payments has, in the short term, enabled critical support to reach the most vulnerable populations: low-income workers who rely on regular wages or government payments to feed and support their families. More broadly, however, the shift has highlighted the longer-term potential of digital wages to drive financial inclusion and resilience, bringing low-income workers into the formal financial system and thereby increasing their ability to save, plan, and respond to crises.

Since 2018, BSR’s HERproject and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth have partnered to leverage the HERfinance Digital Wages program to scale up wage digitization for ready-made garment factories and workers in Bangladesh, Egypt, and Cambodia. Together, we are calling on business globally and governments to unite in developing and implementing more cash digitization programs. Through their supply chains in countries like India and Bangladesh, global brands and buyers have unique access to millions of workers and can, in partnership with relevant governments and stakeholders, make digital wages a global reality.  Governments can digitize their social protection payments and support individuals to access and use these much-needed disbursements.

Learn more about BSR’s 25 years of leadership in sustainability.