H&M has gathered the textile and fashion industry together at the Fair Living Wage Summit 2018 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to discuss how to achieve fair living wages in fashion’s global production markets.

The event, which takes place today, December 11, coincides with the Swedish fashion group’s self-imposed deadline for the implementation of a living wage strategy in its global supply chain, set back in 2013.

H&M states that even though it has reach two time-bound goals set out in its strategy, to empower garment workers by ensuring that they are represented by democratically elected representatives and by implementing improved wage management systems to ensure that suppliers have transparent and fair systems in place and that garment workers are aware of how their wages are set and can be increased, its time to decide on future steps.

With future goals in mind, H&M has brought together brands, academics, NGOs, trade unions, partners, representatives and investors to discuss and reflect on progress and the challenges moving forward.

Jenny Fagerlin, global social sustainability manager, H&M group, said in a statement: “By collaborating with others who are just as committed to this crucial topic as we are, we’re convinced that our industry can take big leaps forward.”

H&M notes that the fashion industry is one of the main creators of jobs and opportunities for workers in emerging markets and that it believes that the industry has a “joint responsibility” to ensure that these are fair jobs, leading to better lives for the people and communities involved.

The fashion group has also release a report, an independent evaluation of its current strategy conducted by the Ethical Trading Institute, which reveals that the average wage at supplier factories producing for H&M group is between 24 percent (Cambodia) to 93 percent (China) higher than the minimum wage level. Also, the wage level at the 500 factories that are improving their wage management systems is between 2 percent (Turkey) to 11 percent (Indonesia) higher than the factories not yet enrolled in these programmes.


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