H&M remains committed to higher wages and sourcing from Bangladesh

H&M remains committed to higher wages and sourcing from Bangladesh

Fashion retailer H&M has reiterated its commitment to higher wages and sourcing from Bangladesh after comments by the company's CEO were widely misconstrued in media reports.

An interview published last Monday (14 April) in German newspaper Welt am Sonntag saw H&M's CEO Karl-Johan Persson explain why the Swedish retailer still produces in Bangladesh and how low prices can raise profits.

But subsequent rewrites of the piece take the headlines out of context, H&M says, and instead suggest that rising Bangladeshi wages and higher costs are likely to prompt some companies to move their sourcing elsewhere.

"Our standpoint is clear. We insist on higher wages in the textile industry and we are truly committed to continue to buy from Bangladesh," H&M says.

"We hope and believe that other large buyers are as well since that is the only responsible approach to take. In addition to that, we believe collaboration with other stakeholders in the industry is the best way to drive change.

"As such we encourage other brands to join our commitment and work towards a fair living wage and continue to improve working conditions throughout the industry."

The comments are echoed in an upcoming interview on just-style in which H&M head of sustainability, Helena Helmersson, explains how the company has "worked really hard to drive the process on wages," including the launch of its Fair Living Wage Roadmap last November.

Helmersson also believes that when it comes to committing to a clear living-wage benchmark, it is important for retailers and other stakeholders "to push the process."