We are very careful when entering into working relationships — we are committed to choosing and rewarding partners who share our respect for people as well as the environment, and who are willing to work with us to improve their practices. We only allow our products to be manufactured by suppliers and factories that commit to our values and sign our strict code of conduct; the Sustainability Commitment.
We believe it's a two-way street, and that we ourselves need to be a good partner as well.
Creating millions of jobs
Many of our suppliers are located in developing countries. Our presence in these countries can make a real difference. H&M group helps to create jobs, consequently lifting people out of poverty, and contributing to economic growth and improved standards of living. Through our business we help create around 1.6 million jobs for people employed by our suppliers around the world. About two-thirds of these jobs are undertaken by women. For many women, this is their first job that provides an income, and therefore the first step to financial independence.
In our 20 production markets, we employ more than 150 people working specifically in sustainability. These colleagues work directly with our buissness partners to asses their performance against our Sustainability Commitment (which replaced our Code of Conduct in 2016) and support them in making improvements through capacity buildning programmes and activities.
In 2016, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven launched the Global Deal, a joint initiative with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The Global deal aims to address the challenges in the global labour market and improve social dialogue and working conditions. H&M group has signed the Global Deal and the film above, made by the Government Offices of Sweden, was shown during the launch. The first two minutes are about the textile industry, including an interview with our sustainability manager in Cambodia, Sarah Hopkins.
Supporting developing countries
There are of course challenges. Issues such as human rights and environmental standards can be at risk across any fashion retailer’s value chain. At H&M group, we don’t believe that we should stop companies from sourcing from developing countries. On the contrary, we are convinced the best way of supporting developing countries and their people is to encourage mutually prosperous partnerships and trade with them, rather than to isolate them. We want to continue creating jobs, using our influence and promoting better working conditions, reducing environmental impacts and ensuring that human rights are respected.
If you are curious to see who our suppliers are and where they are located, check out our supplier map.