H&M to investigate slave labour allegations

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H&M Group has launched a new initiative called Treadler, allowing external companies access H&M's global supply chain and even help with product development. Treadler is one of the first initiatives of new H&M chief executive Helena Helmersson, who was previously a longtime sustainability executive at the retailer.
"We are not concerned or afraid of opening up the supply chain."
// H&M becomes 2nd retailer to launch investigation into whether its products were made in a Chinese jail
// Tesco was hit with slave labour allegations on Sunday

H&M has become the second high street retailer to investigate whether its products were made in a Chinese jail, after Tesco was hit with slave labour allegations.

On Sunday, the Big 4 grocer stopped selling Christmas cards after a six-year-old girl found a message in the charity Christmas cards alleging it was packed using forced labour.

“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation,” the handwritten note said.


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The note also urged to contact Peter Humphrey, a former journalist who spent 23 months imprisoned at the same Qingpu prison.

H&M has now warned its suppliers in China that they must not use prison labour after the former British inmate claimed that he saw prisoners working with the H&M logo.

Humphrey wrote: “I recognised well-known brands — 3M, C&A, H&M. So much for corporate social responsibility, though the companies may well have been unaware that prison labour was part of their supply chain.”

H&M said it had launched an investigation but was unable to find evidence that its policy against prison labour was breached.

“The result of our investigation found no evidence of impropriety in connection to H&M Group,” a H&M spokesman said.

“As a precautionary measure, we reminded our Chinese suppliers about our non-negotiable requirements with regards to working with H&M Group and stressed that failure to comply would lead to a permanent termination of all contractual work. H&M Group strictly prohibits forced, bonded, prison or illegal labour in our supply chain.”

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