US-based H&M employees have chosen to use the fashion brand’s new “employee activism fund” to support the work of non-profit organisation Slow Factory.

Founded in 2021, Slow Factory aims to address the “intersecting crises of climate justice and human rights” using cultural change, science and design. The organisation has previously worked with and been supported by a number of apparel brands including German sports brand adidas, pre-owned fashion platform Vestiaire Collective and UK luxury fashion brand Stella McCartney.

Working with the funds from H&M’s US employees, Slow Factory has laid out a five-year plan, focused on human rights and climate justice. The plan includes an education programme for adults and children, establishing data-based processes to measure and reflect on the impact of the brand and finding ways to divert from the use of fossil fuels.

Slow Factory has also invited H&M to join its Fund for Systemic Change, which aims to raise a total of $100m to support new infrastructure and technologies to address climate change and support human rights.

H&M’s head of sustainability in North America Abi Kammerzell says: “The way fashion and clothes have been produced and consumed must change, and we at H&M are in a unique position to drive and foster that change. Supporting Slow Factory has inspired new energy and opportunities in North America to accelerate our transformation to a circular business. Listening and collaborating with others is key to creating a positive impact for people and the planet and we are so proud of our colleagues for acting on their values and voting to support the critical work Slow Factory is doing.”

Slow Factory’s founder Céline Semaan adds: “We have seen a lot of efforts acting as band aid solutions rather than addressing directly harmful systemic issues, it’s time to focus on systemic change by funding systemic solutions. True transformation happens when systems literacy becomes the norm and where funding follows the values brands have. We are thrilled to be able to transform this industry by working with everyone interested in systemic change.”

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The news comes shortly after a group of fashion brands, online clothing retailers, resellers, and ecommerce platforms, including H&M, urged the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tackle US textile waste.

H&M has also recently announced it is is planning a “phased exit” from its operations in Myanmar, following concerns about human rights and labour abuses in the country.