We want to be kind to the world and empower the people in it. This includes improving the working conditions for the people in the factories and ensuring they have fair living wages. You can learn more about our code of conduct we have with suppliers and what we stand for below.
Fair living wages
In our mission to be kind to the world and empower the people in it, we aim to reflect these values across all aspects of our business including our production chain. While we don’t own any of our factories, we work in close partnership with our suppliers to ensure that care for our people and products is considered every step of the way.
As part of the H&M Group all of our suppliers must sign the Sustainability Commitment to certify that they agree and commit to our standards. Our aim to become a fully circular fashion brand and be climate positive greatly relies on a strong supplier partnership and transparent production process.
When it comes to innovative circular design, pedestaling recycling opportunities and sourcing more sustainable materials – it’s a team effort. Which is why we’re in constant collaboration with our supplier teams to meet our sustainability goals throughout every stage of the production chain.
It’s fundamental to improve the working conditions (including wages) for workers in factories. The employees of our suppliers are democratically represented by trade unions or elected workers’ committees that can negotiate collectively. We offer training to the factories on workplace cooperation, negotiation skills, collective bargaining and labour laws – and all suppliers are required to meet our Sustainability Commitment.
Our Sustainability Commitment
Our Code of Conduct, the Sustainability Commitment, defines the requirements we impose on our suppliers and their subcontractors. It is a clarification of our requirements for environmental and social responsibility. To become an approved Monki supplier, you must sign and annually report on the Code of Conduct.
Most of our requirements are based on internationally accepted standards such as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the applicable ILO Conventions, and the legislation of individual countries.
The Sustainability Commitment covers these sections:
- Health and safety
- Discrimination, diversity and equal rights
- Recognised employment
- Fair living wage and benefits
- Working hours
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining
- Prohibition of child labour and young workers
- Prohibition of forced, bonded, prison and illegal labour
Securing good working conditions
We are careful when entering new partnerships and are committed to choosing partners who share our respect for people as well as the planet, and who are also willing to work with us to improve their practices. Many colleagues in our production offices work directly with our business partners to form good relationships, assess their performance against our Sustainability Commitment, and support them in making improvements through different programs and activities.
They also have close relationships with non-governmental organisations, experts, stakeholders and local governments, so they can have the best insight into local challenges and understand how to drive improvements in a local context. We work closely with our suppliers to improve their sustainability performance through training and other support avenues.
Everyone has the right to a fair living wage. Improving wages is a challenge that concerns the whole industry, and we need to take it on collectively and to scale — and encourage others to do the same.
What is a fair living wage?
A fair living wage is defined as one which fulfils the basic needs of workers and their families, as well as provides some flexible income. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and global trade unions, there's no universal benchmark on how to calculate a living wage. Instead, they stress the importance of enabling factory workers to negotiate wages and working conditions with their employers, by promoting democratic elections of workers’ representatives, freedom of association and collective bargaining.
We share the view that better workplace dialogue, as well as good business relations in the markets, are key to ensure lasting improvements for the textile workers. Meaning that freedom of association is fully respected, workers’ representatives have a voice, and trade unions can negotiate and bargain collectively. This touches all areas of working conditions, including the development of fair living wages.
It’s also key for stable and predictable production markets where ethical and responsible businesses can thrive. The inspiration behind our work is the Swedish model, in which the parties on the labour market negotiate and conclude together. It has been a successful model of functioning social dialogue and industrial relations since The Saltsjöbaden Agreement in 1938.
How can we offer fair living wages, if a sweater costs €8?
This is one of our most asked questions and we understand why. When you look at a garment with a low price tag it's easy to think “How much does the factory worker end up getting paid?"
We can offer garments at affordable prices, made sustainably, since we’re a part of the H&M Group. In a nutshell, being part of a large group, with our design teams means we can order large quantities without any middle hands. It's also good to know that the workers in the supplier factories make exactly as much regardless if they produce a €8 garment or a €80 garment. That’s because different brands in different price ranges produce in the same countries and the same factories, by the same people. This is also one of the reasons why it’s so important to collaborate with other brands in the industry and encourage everyone to take responsibility. At Monki, we want to make sustainable products available and affordable for all.
Did you know?
- Through ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation), we’re teaming up with others to bring change across the industry, supporting freedom of association and industry-wide collective bargaining.
- 655 factories and 930,000 garment workers are covered by one or both of our key programmes for workplace dialogue and Wage Management Systems. This represents 84% of our product volume. See more at sustainabilityreporting.hmgroup.com
We believe that everyone should feel safe in their everyday workplace.
This is regardless of if you're working in our HQ in Gothenburg, a Monki store or at one of our suppliers' factories. At Monki, it's super important for us to actively work to contribute to a safe workplace in the textile industry.
The Bangladesh Accord
In 2013 the Bangladesh Accord was set up to improve the fire and building safety in the Bangladesh textile industry. It monitors over 1,600 factories and the H&M Group was one of the first companies to sign it. In 2017, the national government of Bangladesh extended the Accord until May 2021, where the goal is for local regulatory bodies to take it over.
In general, there is a need for improving fire and building safety in Bangladesh — a country where poor electrical installations and bad maintenance is common. This is a huge job: to convert factories and workplaces into Western safety standards. One that no company or factory could do alone, which is why the Accord is so important. It helps us to band together, with other brands, global trade unions, employers’ organizations and the Bangladeshi government – to actively influence and contribute to improved workplace safety in the textile industry.
In Bangladesh, the H&M group has a staff of almost 600 who works to support suppliers, including improving production facilities to safer and higher international standards. All factories we work with are approved for operation by the Accord.
See the safety requirements for factories producing for the H&M group here.
Respecting human rights is a fundamental part of our responsibility as a company. In fact, it's part of our DNA since our mission is to be kind to the world and empower the young women in it.
We follow the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights and work according to the human rights defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its two corresponding covenants (aka agreements): The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
We also follow the children’s and women’s rights as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
To identify any potential human rights risk, we use risk assessments for countries, functions, materials and processes by using ongoing dialogue with stakeholders and partners, training and incident management processes to raise awareness of and remediate risks as needed.
Doing the right thing, at every stage of our business.
Being ethical is, simply put, about doing the right thing. It’s about respecting human rights and embracing diversity and inclusion. It’s about respecting laws and operations wherever we operate, paying taxes accordingly and taking a clear stance against corruption.
We interact with millions of people across various countries and cultures. We do this with mutual respect, integrity, transparency and honesty because, for us, there isn’t any other way. This is how we work in all aspects of our business. We are proud to be part of H&M Group who has been named the most ethical company in our industry by Ethisphere for several years in a row.
Did you know?
- We conduct in-depth training on human rights and responsibilities for our top management, as well as key colleagues who work with sustainability, human resources and legal.
- We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to corruption and we take a proactive approach in preventing it, e.g. by never accepting or giving gifts regardless of value.
- We conduct regular corruption risk assessments