Fast-fashion retailer H&M announced its decision to stop using cotton from Syria and Turkmenistan due to underage workers being involved in cotton cultivation. The company have vowed to use materials coming only from sustainable sources by 2020.
H&M has signed a contract which requires all of its suppliers not to buy cotton from the two regions. If suppliers do not agree to the commitment, they will not be permitted to work with H&M.
The move is in response to claims against H&M, as well as competitor Inditex, owner of Zara, that the two had been involved with a Turmenian Sub-Contractor, Turkenbasji, who reportedly uses forced labour.
"The reason for this ban is that H&M under no circumstances accepts underage workers and/or forced labour being used anywhere in our value chain, including in cotton cultivation. Unfortunately, this is sometimes the case in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and H&M does therefore not accept conventional cotton from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan or Syria in our products," H&M said.
The Swedish retailer will also be partnering with the renowned Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California, for the second consecutive year.
"Last year, H&M was the first brand to team up with Coachella to develop a clothing collection. The success was so rapid and so widespread, we decided to partner again to create an even richer offering this season” said H&M Designer Ross Lydon.