CCC reaction to the launch of children’s clothing collection by H&M and WWF

On 29th of September, H&M and WWF have launched a new collection of children’s clothing aimed at leading the way toward a more environmentally friendly garment industry. While H&M and WWF attempt to reduce water pollution and promote closed loop recycling management, core problems of their ‘fast fashion’ model are not addressed. H&M continues to pursue a business model that relies heavily on high sales volumes, rapid growth rates and overconsumption, and is therefore truly unsustainable at heart. The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) fears that the company is once again profiting from a marketing opportunity that will lead to little change for affected people and may mislead consumers.

Moreover, H&M’s cooperation with WWF and the launch of their collection must be seen against the backdrop of a number of strategic partnerships and sustainability commitments that H&M has made over the past few years in order to foster their new ‘sustainable’ image. H&M has been working determinedly on portraying themselves as a responsible company without actually changing their core business practices. By sustaining their cheap production and at the same time increasing their sales at high profit margins, the company is profiting twofold – at the expense of workers’ rights.

In 2013, H&M announced their Roadmap to a Fair Living Wage in which the company committed to paying garment workers at their strategic suppliers a ‘fair living wage’ by 2018. While the intention was commended by civil society, the Roadmap has clearly failed to benchmark a fair living wage, making it impossible to measure its success. Similarly, H&M’s 2015 sustainability report contained no real figures to demonstrate any progress towards this goal. Furthermore, a recently launched report revealed that even at some of H&M’s top suppliers, working conditions are far from decent. In none of the researched factories does H&M live up to its own sustainability guidelines, neither regarding labor contracts nor freedom of association or decent wages.