According to a pair of articles from WWD and Vogue, fast fashion behemoth, and eco / ethical scourge, H&M is now crusading for industry-wide wage standards and greener, more sustainable practices.
As WWD reported, the company recently held a “fair living wage summit” in Cambodia for brands, trade unions, investors and NGOs, where it “pledged to look beyond factories to change working conditions across the industry.”
“Every garment worker should earn a wage that is sufficient to live on,” H&M said in a statement. “It is a fundamental human right.”
Concurrently, the company, which is sitting on a $4.3 billion-sized mountain of unsold clothing, acknowledged to Vogue that its production practices – wherein it simply “hopes” that the consumer will want buy what it’s already made millions of — is “not sustainable.”
But even as sustainability, workers’ rights, and a semblance of a product strategy creep to the forefront of H&M’s corporate lizard brain, “the company has no plans to change the factors — production volumes, turnarounds times, low prices — that have helped shaped a throwaway culture that sends 300,000 [tons] of clothes to the landfill per year in the UK alone.”
Its explanation? “We can stop producing the volumes we do [now], but then the 98 [percent of companies that are] less transparent and less sustainable will just keep making money,” one sustainability manager told Vogue. “We have a role to play going forward — we ought to put others that are not transparent out of business.”
I guess that’s one way to look at it…