International clothing retailer H&M has signed up to the Fair Wage Network (FWN) initiative which helps to ensure decent pay levels for manufacturers around the globe, it was revealed today.
FWN works by bringing fashion brands, garment producers, non-governmental organisations, employee representatives and researchers together to ensure that the workers helping to create the clothes consumers love receive an acceptable level of income.
The first part of the process will involve the Fair Labour Association (FLA) assessing wage structures at more than 200 key suppliers to the fashion firm, in countries such as China, India, Cambodia and Bangladesh.
Helena Helmersson, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at H&M, said: “Wages in our supply chain are a key focus in our sustainability work. Wage structures however are often complex and so are global supply chains.
“The FWN can support us with the necessary knowledge to further promote fair wages for workers at our supplier factories and through a strong network hopefully throughout the entire industry.”
All of H&M’s suppliers are required to pay their employees at least the wages they are entitled to as part of the company’s Code of Conduct, but this new cooperation with FWN should further ensure correct entitlements for all of the businesses it works with.
Set up in 2009, the FWN sees working with western brands as an essential part of helping the lives of manual workers in developing countries and H&M hopes other retailers will follow its lead by working with the group.
Auret van Heerden, Co-Chair and of the FWN and President and CEO of the FLA, said: “The issue of wages has been a real challenge for the CSR movement.
“H&M has done a tremendous job to collect the necessary wage data from their suppliers already. We are very happy to be working with them to further analyse wage structures in their global supply chain and to develop strategies for further improvements.”