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Danish fashion retailer Bestseller has reached its empowerment goal for women in its supply chain four years ahead of schedule.

The retailer promised that by 2025 it would support 100,000 women in its Tier 1 factories to achieve workplace empowerment and improved life skills.

Bestseller says signing a five-year strategic partnership with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) – the sustainability consultancy behind HERproject – in 2020 accelerated the efforts in the field.

The spread of Covid-19 prompted Bestseller to invest time and resources in co-developing a novel app-based programme witth BSR called ‘HERessentials’.

The programme aims to put technology in the hands of low-income women with low tech skills, while empowering suppliers to take ownership and provide worker training sessions on essential topics, such as providing a supportive and inclusive work environment.

The HERessentials pilot programme will soon be rolled out in Pakistan, as Bestseller recently signed an agreement with Work and Opportunities for Women (WOW – a programme funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) to accelerate plans to bring the tool to the country. 

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The roll-out will happen in collaboration with Bestseller’s supplier and long-term partner Artistic Milliners, targeting managers and factory workers in their factories.

With WOW’s support, the programme will be tailored to local needs in Pakistan and implemented across strategic suppliers.

“We feel the need to contribute directly to the success of women working in our supply chain. We are inspired by Artistic Milliners’ commitment to women’s empowerment. I am confident that our collaboration to equip female workers with relevant tools and life-skills will directly contribute to their success at work, as well as in their wider community,” says Andrei Vasiliev, Bestseller’s social impact manager.