Hennes & Mauritz H&M has reportedly revealed that it wants to source more products from Bangladesh, but unrest and violet strikes are making expansion in the country difficult. 

"The often-recurring strikes and demonstrations disrupt production and cause delays. We want to grow in Bangladesh [...] a stable market will benefit us buyers, the suppliers and the workers," the Wall Street Journal quoted H&M head of sustainability Helena Helmersson as saying.

It reported that some 25% of H&M's products are made in Bangladesh and the company wants to increase this figure.

However, Bangladesh has been plagued by political turmoil, with with violent street protests erupting last month following the disappearance of a leading opposition figure. In addition, working conditions remain poor, with substandard lighting, overcrowding and long working hours common.

H&M said it wants to use its influence to apply pressure on suppliers in Bangladesh to improve working conditions.

"We told them how we would like to grow in Bangladesh, but that the ongoing instability in the country makes it difficult for us to plan production and makes us wonder if we dare grow there," Helmersson said. She added that H&M wants suppliers to set up democratic labor committees that can negotiate wages and working conditions with factory owners, and a program will be rolled out and tested this year and next.

Last week, a number of leading global brands, including H&M, backed a three-year programme to clean up production in the Bangladeshi garment industry. The scheme will see them help local garment washing, dyeing and finishing units adopt cleaner and safer production methods, including technologies to reduce water consumption and effluents, and is also designed to help the sector to enhance its long-term competitiveness and sustainability.