Through our business, we contribute to 1.6 million jobs for people employed by our suppliers. It is important for us that the people making our clothes are treated with respect, and that our suppliers offer their employees fair wages and good working conditions. It has always been our vision that all textile workers should be able to live on their wage. As a first step, our goal is for H&M's strategic suppliers to have pay structures in place to pay a fair living wage by 2018.
"The price tag doesn’t correlate with the pay slip."
A common misunderstanding is that the price of a garment reflects the way it is produced, or the wage of the seamstress. Since the H&M group does not own any factories, we work with independent suppliers. This means that our suppliers are contracted by many other brands at the same time.
So, regardless of the garment’s price tag - the worker earns the same amount of money. The workers are employed by the supplier – and not by us. Consequently, we cannot directly decide what the workers are paid.
However, we do have a big responsibility which we are more than willing to accept. We work with wage issues within the company as well as in collaboration with other brands, such as, the UN body International Labour Organization, global unions and non-governmental organisations. We are the only company in our sector to have implemented a model for fair living wages – the Fair Wage method. More and more of our suppliers have started using the Fair Wage method to achieve fairer wage setting for their employees.
We are working in partnership with both local players and global organisations on this important issue. By working in an organised way and not choosing the simple solutions, we can create long-term and lasting changes. It takes time, but we do see continuous improvements.
How do we keep our affordable prices?
It’s quite simple. Being cost conscious, having no middlemen, very efficient logistics and running our own stores. And of course, we are the second biggest fashion retailer in the world.