•H&M is an international clothing store that sells trendy and cheap clothing in almost 30 countries around the world.
•In an industry fraught with sweatshops and labor abuses, H&M fails to provide an example of sustainability and justice.
•Visit Go Green, and learn how you can be fashionable and sustainable.
-- Profile Updated 03/23/2011
H&M is a Swedish store that designs and sells cheap yet chic clothing for men women and children throughout Europe and North America. The company operates in 29 countries, runs about 1,400 stores, and employs approximately 68,000 people worldwide.
Calling for H&M & Bangladesh Government to Take Action and Protect its Workers.
21 Factory Workers died in a fire because exits were blocked, and they couldn't leave the building. We are calling on you to tell the brands, the employer and the government of Bangladesh that justice must prevail for these workers. This tradegy could have been prevented and we need to ensure that it does not happen again.
There are no known affiliates associated with H&M.
215 Park Ave South, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10003 USA
Ethics and Governance
H&M was listed as one of the “unethical fashion brands hiding in your closet” by TreeHugger. The article cited H&M social and environmental scandals such as cutting up and disposing of unsold merchandise during a frigid winter, committing organic cotton fraud and buying from a sweatshop in Bangladesh that commits egregious human rights violations.
-- Tree Hugger, 06/01/2010
A graduate student in New York City discovered bags of unused, discarded clothes from retailer H&M on the street near the company's store. The clothes that were discarded included gloves, winter coats and other cold weather items that had been intentionally cut or slashed to prevent people from wearing them after being discarded. In one of the coldest winters on record in New York City, this action has been met by anger and dismay by homeless activists who say the clothing could have been used to help keep the cities thousands of homeless warm during such a cold winter.
-- Guardian, 01/07/2010
H&M is an accredited member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a non-profit organization that focuses on improving working conditions from a human rights perspective in factories around the world. H&M’s Code of Conduct and monitoring program have been assessed by the FLA and are consistent with the organization’s standards. The FLA also performs its independent audits in the brand’s supplier factories, in supplement to the chain’s program, and publishes its findings on its website.
-- H&M, 03/01/2011
A recent investigation by the Workers' Rights Committee has revealed that apparel manufactures in Bangalore, India have been refusing to pay factory workers more than $10 million, because they refused to comply with the minimum wage increase in India in March of 2009. Approximately 1/3 of all factory workers, or 125,000 workers, in the region are owed back wages by factories, who say they were acting on the advice of the leading industry association, the Clothing Manufacturers' Assocation of India. The factories involved manufacture apparel for many well-known US and international brands including, Wal-Mart, Adidas, the Gap, H&M, JC Penney, Levi-Strauss, Phillps Van Heusen, and Nike.
-- National Labor Committee, 03/04/2010
21 workers were killed in a H&M factory fire in the beginning of March. The workers weren't able to leave the building because exits were blocked off. This is the second time this factory has had a fire within the last six months.
-- International Labor Rights Forum, 03/02/2010
Source URL: www.laborrights.org/
More than 1,000 workers at nine H&M clothing stores in Manhattan won the right to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
-- Guardian, 09/03/2007
UNITE HERE organized a boycott campaign of H&M in 2003. The campaign alleged that H&M wouldn't allow U.S. workers to unionize, and there were concerns about how they treated their workers in Indonesia. The dispute between UNITE and H&M went all the way to the National Labor Review Board in November of 2004. UNITE has worked out an agreement with H&M to represent its New Jersey Distribution Center workers.
-- Alternet, 07/01/2005
Source URL: www.alternet.org/story/23267/?page=2
20,000 workers from up to 69 different garment factories in Cambodia went on strike from June 21-27, 2000 in order to demand a rise in the minimum wage from $40 to $70 per month. At least nine clothing companies, including H&M, source from these factories. Although they have returned to work, workers have pledged to continue striking in the future if there is no resolution on the minimum wage issue.
-- Clean Clothes Campaign, 06/01/2000
Source URL: www.cleanclothes.org/news/00-06-cambodia.htm
H&M has announced the debut of its environmentally friendly fashion line for Spring 2011. “The Conscious Collection” is for men, women and children and is made from sustainable materials such as organic and recycled fibers. The line will be available in all stores starting from April 14. The clothing brand also revealed “Waste” last month, its new line completely made of left-over pieces from their Lanvin collection. H&M has been working to improve its environmental credentials after being caught destroying its unsold but new garments in January 2010 (see story under “Ethics and Governance”). The retailer has consequently pledged to donate all unsold clothing to charity.
-- Environmental Leader, 02/11/2011
In 2003 H&M became a member of Organic Exchange, an organization that promotes organic cotton worldwide. In 2005, they sold garments containing more than 40 tons organic cotton.
-- Organic Exchange, 12/21/2008
Two labor unions in Cambodia organized a strike from September 13 to September 16, 2010. Over 200,000 workers from over 90 factories joined the protest on the last day alone. The unions demanded a living wage of $93 US dollars for the garment industry workers. The Ministry of Social Affairs eventually agreed to meet with the unions and the leaders agreed to a temporary cessation of the strike. However, when workers returned to their respective factories, they observed the massive dismissal of union leaders and workers; the factory owners were attempting to punish the union activists for organizing the strike, which is a violation of the Cambodian Constitution. 787 workers have not been reinstated and the lack of income have had severe impacts their livelihoods. The Clean Clothes Campaign urges H&M, Zara and Gap, the major brands that are significant buyers from Cambodia, to take immediate action in addressing the situation.
-- Clean Clothes Campaign, 12/01/2010
Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest human rights organization, and the Environmental Justice Foundation demand H&M and Zara to stop buying cotton from Uzbekistan, a country in which half of the cotton is picked by forced child labor. Although the Uzbek government assures that forced child labor was outlawed in 2008, the two organizations have obtained images taken in secret of children picking cotton. Retailers such as Wal-mart, Gap and Nike have placed a ban on buying Uzbek cotton because of the known use of child slavery. Children are forced to pick cotton when the government closes the schools for up to three months every year. They are rarely paid and threatened with expulsion from school and abuse for refusing to take part in the harvest. H&M does have a partnership with UNICEF to help end child labor and even claims to work on children’s rights in Uzbekistan, yet these two organizations have been campaigning against the clothing chain for these human rights violations.
-- Anti-Slavery International, 12/23/2009
H&M has been a corporate partner of UNICEF since 2004, contributing to projects ranging from girls’ education, HIV/AIDS prevention in Cambodia, children’s rights in Uzbekistan. The partnership’s main initiative is called “All for Children” which aims to improve the rights of children in cotton producing areas of southern India. H&M has donated $4.5 million to sustain this project and build the necessary social infrastructure, such as providing health care and stabilizing incomes, to get children out of work and into school.
-- UNICEF USA, 12/05/2009