Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz from now on source fabrics only from mills it has inspected in Bangladesh. This is part of a program to improve working conditions in plants in the country.
H &M, which ranks second globally by sales to Spain’s Inditex, has extended its inspections from factories making its clothes to those supplying fabric and yarn. Its purchasing policies would benefit those sub-suppliers who measure up to its code of conduct. It will place more orders and book more material with those that take responsibility.
The program is about having a safe work environment and ensuring human rights with regards to remuneration and overtime and ensuring that there is no child labor. It is seen as a business tool to drive positive development and one that will make a difference for workers. The proportion of retailer’s clothes being made from fabric made by audited mills would rise to 50 per cent this year from 35 per cent last year. Unlike direct suppliers in the garment industry, most mills have never been exposed to demands or compliance standards from brands.
Poor working conditions in the textile industry were thrust into the limelight by the collapse in 2013 of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in which more than 1,100 workers were killed.