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H&M is Taking Steps to Improve Sustainable Practices & Ethical Working Conditions

* H&M Group announces efforts to improve sustainability and ethical working conditions
* H&M has been named one of the most ethical companies for 2017
* Company is pushing for workers to become represented by trade unions

The fast fashion industry is not typically associated with sustainability and ethical practices, but retail giant H&M is taking more steps to make the company more “economically, socially and environmentally sustainable,” according to new reports in the company’s newsroom.

In addition to improved efforts to better the working conditions for their factory workers,  CEO Karl-Johan Persson says the group is also investing in the use of more resourceful apparel production, using sustainable materials, and improving their recycling technologies to harness a “circular approach to how fashion is made and used.” The updated strategy report outlines new programs and employee training sessions for 290 of their factory locations worldwide.

In addition to their flagship brand, the Swedish-based H&M group also owns COS, Cheap Monday, Monki, & Other Stories, and Weekday. The group’s supplier and textile factories are located in many areas associated with harmful working conditions and labor regulations, including Bangladesh, China, Kenya and Vietnam. The updated sustainability programs are only being implemented in H&M factory locations in India, China, Ethiopia, and India.

One of the biggest steps H&M is taking to provide better working conditions is making sure that employees in their factories are represented by a trade union. Also on the trajectory is providing training to factories on issues such as workplace cooperation, negotiation skills, collective bargaining and labor law.

H&M is also addressing concerns over fair wages. According to the report, the company is making sure that wage issues are negotiated fairly and that employees fully understand their rights, benefits, and wages. In March, H&M was named as one of the most ethical companies in the apparel and textile industry.