For this blog post I have chosen a kimono from H&M out of my wardrobe that is one of my favourite clothing items. It was made in India so i am going to look into the working conditions in India.
This is an image I have taken of the Kimono.
Making of clothes in India:
In 2012 there was an article of accusations of abuse and low pay against clothing companies that supply many high street stores. H&M was one of them along with Gap and Next. Many workers in Indian factories earn very little that a months wage wouldn’t buy them an item of clothing that they produce. Physical and verbal abuse is said to be common, whilst workers who fail to meet their targets are called “dogs and donkeys” and are told to “go and die”. Their target is 150 pieces of clothing an hour, and when the targets aren’t met, the abuse starts. Sakamma who is a 42 year old mother of two who works for a Gap supplier in Bengaluru told reporters that she earned as little as 22p an hour, and that they couldn’t take breaks, drink water or go to the toilet.
H&M sent representatives to the factories and made it very clear that they were committed to make a change to the working conditions. “The social and environmental responsibility that we take puts H&M’s sustainability work ahead of the field in the fashion industry worldwide,” said a spokeswoman.
“We clearly see these issues as industry problems that need to be addressed at industry level by government, suppliers, trade unions, workers, buyers, etc.” – The Guardian – India’s clothing workers
My opinion on this is that it is disgusting and would make me double think about buying a garment knowing that this is going on behind the making of it.
H&M is trying to become a more sustainable company and from looking into they’re conscious actions sustainability report it states that they are helping to improve working conditions and also introduce recycling into the process. H&M offer a £5 voucher for every bag of clothes that you donate; they then donate the bags to charities where they are either reused or recycled. In 2014 H&M introduced the first pieces with 20% recycled cotton from collected garments. To increase this share without loosing quality, they are working hard to have a more technological innovation.
H&M have 7 commitments that are stated on the 2014 sustainability report
- Provide fashion for conscious customers
- Choose and reward responsible partners
- Be ethical
- Be climate smart
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
- Use natural resources responsibly
- Strengthen communities
In conclusion I can see that H&M are trying to start being more supportable towards their workers and are making an effort to change working environments with their commitment. They are trying to improve working conditions which is a significant problem for a lot of factories, this makes H&M a nicer place to shop knowing that the staff behind the making of there garments get treated well. A lot of other mass companies make no effort at all so H&M should be acknowledged for this. As for the working conditions in India I think they are very poor and I am glad H&M have started the conscious campaign to help prevent this.
- H&M – Sustainability Report 2013 – 2013 – http://sustainability.hm.com/content/dam/hm/about/documents/en/CSR/reports/Conscious%20Actions%20Sustainability%20Report%202013_en.pdf(Accessed 09/11/15)
- H&M Sustainablity Report 2014 (no date) Available at: http://sustainability.hm.com/content/dam/hm/about/documents/en/CSR/reports/Conscious%20Actions%20Sustainability%20Report%202014_en.pdf (Accessed: 9 November 2015).
- H&M – About H&M Conscious – http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/hm-conscious/conscious.html (Accessed 09/11/15)
- Chamberlain, G. (2014) India’s clothing workers: ‘They slap us and call us dogs and donkeys’. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/25/india-clothing-workers-slave-wages (Accessed: 9 November 2015).
- MARATI J – Behind the Label: H&M’s Conscious Collection – Huffington Post – 2 July 2012 – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-marati/h-and-m-conscious-collection_b_1261082.html(Accessed 09/11/15)
- SIEGLE L – Is H&M the new home of ethnical fashion? – The Guardian – 7 April 2012 – http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/apr/07/hennes-mauritz-h-and-m/ (Accessed 09/11/15)