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At HM, we like to think of sustainability as a word of action, something we do rather than something we simply say. It is an ongoing process with a clear direction to be continuously improved. It is a journey that requires determination, passion and teamwork. Because together with our colleagues, stakeholders, business partners and peers, real, lasting change is possible.
Its about the 3 Ps. People, planet, and profit. All highly interconnected. All equally important. The earth is facing scarcity issues on many fronts. Clean water, energy and cotton, to name a few. Our business is no exception. Our vision is that all our operations should be run in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Turning this vision into a reality helps us do great business using fewer resources. It also allows us to contribute to better lives for people and communities around the world.
That is why we have created HM Conscious. With seven ambitious strategic commitments at its heart, this is the name for all the work we do for a more sustainable fashion future. Hundreds of what we call Conscious Actions - big and small, short and long term - work to put these commitments into practice.
Sustainability Update from H&M - Visit to Cambodia
Last week I visited Phnom Phen to meet with the ILO/Better Works Cambodia on how to improve working conditions in the export garment factories. The lack of dialogue between workers and factory management on the one hand, and unions and the employers’ association on the other, seems to be one of the main reasons for the incidents we have seen recently. Hence, right now we are focusing on getting a functioning dialogue system in place.
I also visited M&V4, to see the improvements being made according to the action plan to address the mass illnesses, and to discuss the importance of dialogue between employers and workers and how they can benefit from an open dialogue. Currently, we are, in collaboration with stakeholders, working on a social dialogue project to strengthen knowledge about negotiation skills and conflict resolution at our suppliers’ factories. Lasting improvements in working conditions require a continuous, well-functioning dialogue, and parallel it is important to educate the factory management to overcome the communication gap.
The week prior to my trip to Cambodia I met with the Vice Premier Minister of Cambodia on his visit to Stockholm, to discuss the importance of a frame work for dialogue and negotiations. A dialogue that everyone would benefit from; workers, suppliers, governement, the country as a whole as well as us - the buyers.
Helena Helmersson is our Head of Sustainability. Opinions expressed are her personal views and do not necessarily represent the official views of H&M. Do you have questions or feedback? Please click here.