H&M Group’s approach to human rights is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the recognition that while states have a duty to protect human rights, companies have a responsibility to respect the same. Our policy is built on our Human Rights Statement below and applies to all entities within the H&M Group.
Human Rights Statement
Respecting human rights is a fundamental part of H&M Group’s responsibility as a company and is vital to operate our business sustainably. H&M Group is committed to respecting fundamental human rights in our operations, our value chain, and in the communities where we operate. We seek to avoid complicity in human rights abuses and to use our influence to promote the fulfilment of human rights.
Our commitment to operating with respect for human rights is reflected in all aspects of H&M Group’s business operations and is integrated in our company policies and relevant procedures. We aim to identify, assess, and manage the human rights impacts of our business activities based on the operational context, our leverage and business relationships.
H&M Group looks to those human rights defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its two corresponding covenants, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Additionally, we also look to 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.
H&M Group’s approach to its business operations is informed by the ILO International Labour Organisation’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, The Children's Rights and Business Principles, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Global Compact, to which we are signatories.
H&M Group strives to prioritise the management of the human rights impacts of our business activities based on the operational context, our leverage and business relationships. As a result, we concentrate on our own operations and suppliers, although we aim to also prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts in the whole value chain. Due to the nature of our business we are focusing our efforts on human rights related to labour conditions. We also focus on women’s rights and the right to water, as these are areas of specific importance to our industry. H&M Group does, however, recognise that other human rights may become greater priorities over time and we will regularly review our focus areas.
Communication and training
Our performance is communicated and reported transparently in our annual sustainability report. Training and awareness raising on prioritised human rights, as outlined above, is continuously developed and integrated into our training plan and should be implemented in relevant training programs for employees as well as for our suppliers. When implementing this policy, relevant training on human rights related issues and due diligence will be provided for the relevant functions.
Our commitment to operating with respect for human rights is reflected in company policies and procedures. In order to integrate human rights considerations into the management of our business, human rights due diligence is part of our risk assessment for new production and sales markets. For existing production and sales markets, H&M Group will regularly evaluate human rights related risks and conduct human rights impact assessments on high-risk markets. Risk and impact assessments are used for identifying actual and potential human rights impacts from our business activities, which are then managed by the relevant business functions. In addition, H&M Group works broadly to promote respect for human rights through public policy, stakeholder dialogues, advocacy, collaborations, and participation in various forums.
Human rights and key stakeholders
In implementing this policy, we focus our efforts on issues and relationships in which we have greater degrees of control and influence, as outlined below.
H&M Group seeks to respect the human rights of all employees within the H&M Group as well as complying with all national laws. Our commitment is manifested in policies such as the Discrimination and Equality Policy and the Global Harassment Policy. To ensure remediation of potential abuses, we have a complaint procedure which is applicable to the whole organisation. Any employee with concerns regarding the human rights impacts of H&M Group’s activities may raise these through the internal Complaint Procedure process.
H&M Group works with suppliers and business partners to ensure that human rights are respected in the supply chain, based on our business relationships, leverage and operational context. Our engagement is manifested through our Sustainability Commitment and managed through applicable follow-up procedures. As appropriate, we use tools for human rights risk and impacts assessments to identify actual and potential human rights issues. Actions to manage and address human rights risks and impacts are guided and carried out through dialogue and collaboration with relevant stakeholders, with support from our audit and remediation programme and our Community Investment Policy. Where appropriate, H&M Group also aims to use its influence to support the advancement of human rights in the communities where we operate.
Any customer with concerns regarding the human rights impacts of H&M Group’s activities may raise these through Customer Service channels.
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB, November 2012