H&M will roll out its Fair Wage Method to all strategic suppliers by 2018 at the latest, having trialled it with three factories in Bangladesh and Cambodia last year.
The method, developed by the independent organisation Fair Wage Network, aims to improve pay structures and wage levels in the supply chain by taking factories through five stages: assessment, including interviews with workers; training; remediation; implementation of a fairer wage; and a final impact assessment.
H&M, which defines a fair wage as one that covers basic needs for the worker and their family, as well as providing some discretionary income, said it will introduce this approach to 60 factories this year.
At the launch of its Conscious Actions Sustainability Report 2014 in London today (April 9), the Swedish fast fashion retailer also revealed it is working with the International Labour Organisation to strengthen employee negotiations and improve working conditions in global garment production.
It has added second tier fabric and yarn suppliers to its public factory list, having first published a list of garment suppliers it works with in 2013.
The group is the number one user of certified organic cotton in the world, and 21.1% of its cotton is now either certified organic, recycled or grown under the Better Cotton Initiative. It aims to increase this to 100% by 2020.
Last year, the group introduced organic leather and organic silk to its collections and, this year, it has sourced sustainable embellishments made from post-consumer recycled waste such as recycled plastic bottles.
Last year the group collected more than 7,600 tonnes of unwanted garments in stores, which equates to the amount of fabric in over 38 million T-shirts. It is aiming to increase the amount of products made from recycled fabrics by at least 300% by the end of this year.
Ana-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M, said: “New fabrics are sometimes more expensive, but we want to make them trickle down to all of our collections, so we see this as an investment for the future.
“Sustainability and more sustainable choices shouldn’t be too expensive for our customers.”
H&M’s most recent Conscious Exclusive collection for spring 15 launches in 200 stores worldwide and online from April 16.