H&M Hennes & Mauritz has become one of the first and largest clothing companies in the world to make its supplier factory list public, as part of ongoing efforts to promote transparency across its business.

The retailer said the list covers around 95% of its total production volume and that publication has required a "long record of preparatory work to build strong, strategic bonds with our suppliers, allowing us to disclose their names, their factories and even their locations without major concerns about the ongoing competition on the best available production capacity in our industry".

Alongside the release of its annual sustainability report, the company said that for the second year in a row, it is the biggest user of certified organic cotton in the world.

As well as making major investments in Better Cotton, it also plans to increase its use of both organic and recycled cotton. Currently, 11.4% of its cotton now comes from sustainable sources, of which 7.8% was certified organic cotton and 3.6% Better Cotton.

Over the course of the year, 450m litres of water were saved in the production of denim and other water intense products, the use of recycled polyester was equivalent to 7.9m plastic bottles, and compliance with its code of conduct continued to improve with sustainability performance scores increasing from 79.3% to 81.7%.

Meanwhile, the retailer invested about SEK42m (US$6.3m) into communities in India and Bangladesh and the H&M Conscious Foundation.

"Being one of the biggest fashion companies puts high demand on our sustainability work and we take this responsibility seriously," said sustainability head Helena Helmersson.

"There are a number of things that stand out such as being the biggest user of organic cotton in the world, being the first fashion retailer to launch a garment collecting initiative globally and promoting transparency by disclosing our supplier factory list."