We are deeply sorry to have discovered that one of our brands, & Other Stories, used a racist slur in an internal product overview. This is totally unacceptable and should never have happened. It is a serious breach of our policies and goes against everything we stand for. We take the use of racially offensive language extremely seriously. While internal and external investigations are taking place, we have suspended the team and managers responsible for this area of the business.
However, simply taking action on one occasion is not enough. We see that we have challenges with the diversity of some of our own teams. We must improve representation and continue to educate ourselves if we are going to reflect and celebrate the diverse customers and communities we serve.
That work is already well underway. We have already run training on conscious and unconscious bias for thousands of people across the company. As part of our global Inclusion and Diversity strategy, this will now become mandatory for everyone. We are also strengthening the internal controls we have on the images, texts and products we use.
To improve the diversity of our teams is a top priority. We will make the following commitments:
- By the end of 2020, management teams in our major markets will publish specific targets for improved representation, with a clear timetable and action plan to achieve them. (These will be similar to the commitments made by the H&M Group in the United States.)
- We will identify diversity gaps within our headquarters and set goals to increase the diversity of the Management Teams and the Board of Directors.
- By the end of 2021, we will publish commitments and action plans for Inclusion and Diversity across all markets where H&M Group operates.
- We will immediately create an external Advisory Council with business executives from diverse backgrounds to advise and contribute to our business direction.
- We will bring together a peer Advisory Council made up of our existing employee resource groups from around the world to work directly with our CEO, Head of Inclusion and Diversity, and the management team to promote Inclusion and Diversity further.
We at H&M Group all have a responsibility to build a business that truly reflects, welcomes, and celebrates the diversity of the world we live in. We encourage everyone to continue to speak out against any act of racism, intolerance or hate inside or outside our company.