H&M addresses the fashion industry's fair wage issue with international summit

H&M is testing out a new delivery method for its customer orders in the Netherlands.

H&M is tackling the issue of fair wages in the global fashion industry.

The Swedish retail group has kicked off its ‘Fair Living Wage Summit 2018' in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to shine a light on the issue of how to achieve living wages for textile and fashion workers in the industry's current global climate.

The summit, which features NGOs, brands, trade unions and investors, builds on the pledge the company made in 2013 to realise fair wages across its supply chain worldwide. It will also review the progress made by the group during this time, as assessed independently by the Ethical Trading Initiative, and will discuss the next necessary steps to achieve complete transparency regarding fair wages across the company.

"By collaborating with others who are just as committed to this crucial topic as we are, we're convinced that our industry can take big leaps forward," said Jenny Fagerlin, Global Social Sustainability Manager at H&M Group, in a statement.

Over the last five years, H&M has implemented changes that ensure its garment workers are now represented by democratically elected representatives, and are more aware of how their wages are set and can be increased. It has also adapted its purchasing practices to avoid last-minute changes that could impact product price negotiations and garment workers' wages.

"Every garment worker should earn a wage that is sufficient to live on," reads a statement from the group. "It should satisfy the basic needs of workers and their families as well as provide some discretionary income. It should be earned under legal normal working hours and be revised annually and negotiated regularly."

H&M is not the only major fashion group paying more attention to the communities in which it operates. In September, the retail giant PVH Corp. -- parent company to Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Speedo1 -- was recognized for its responsible business conduct by the US Secretary of State, following its investment in a safety and environmentally-conscious clothing manufacturing industrial park in Hawassa, Ethiopia. "We have focused on protecting the local environment, using sustainable energy and ensuring sufficient supplies of clean water," said Emanuel Chirico, Chairman and CEO, PVH Corp. of the project, which is expected to result in the collective creation of 60,000 jobs within the next few years. "Creating a safe and inclusive workplace is also a priority, which provides real opportunities for the residents of the surrounding area. We are honored to receive this award and are proud of the operation we have established there."