The ILO supports improved working conditions worldwide and monitors the undertaken measures closely. Its cooperation with H&M dates back to 2001 when the fast fashion retailer joined the Better Factories Cambodia program. The new strategic partnership will promote a wide range of activities with the aim to further strengthen the sustainability work in H&M's supply chain, in particular improving working conditions, workers pay and their training at supplier factories as well as supporting worker organizations.
“Issues in the garment industry are systemic and require action that helps develop effective industrial relations and promote respect of international labour standards,”said ILO director general Guy Ryder in a statement. “There is, therefore, an urgent need to establish strategic and comprehensive collaborations with companies that have experience in these fields, such as H&M.”
The ILO has a tripartite structure with governments, employers' organisations and workers' organisations from 185 countries as members. “We see the cooperation as a great opportunity to further strengthen our work towards the establishment of well-functioning industrial relations on all our strategic production markets,” said Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M. In addition, the partnership is meant to be a role model for the industry, a "positive, innovative model for other brands" according to the ILO.