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Improving Transparency: H&M’s Code Of Conduct In Bangladesh Factories

5013 words - 21 pages

IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY:
H&M’S CODE OF CONDUCT IN BANGLADESH FACTORIES

Prepared for
Jennifer Ward,
US Public Relations / Communications Director
H&M

Prepared by
Public Relations Specialists
H&M

October 7, 2015
MEMORANDUM

TO: Jennifer Ward, U.S. Public Relations/Communications Director
FROM: Murphy Kane, Public Relations Specialist; Kathleen Ashcraft, Public
Relations Specialist
DATE: October 7, 2015
SUBJECT: H&M’s Code of Conduct in Bangladesh Factories

We have prepared the report that you requested on H&M’s code of conduct used in our garment factories in Bangladesh.

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H&M, a Swedish based company, is working to expand its brand by opening more stores in the United States. In order to do this, we must be sure to promote our code of conduct, which lists acceptable standards for child labor, treatment of female workers, and hourly wages. The Rana Plaza building collapse shed a negative light on companies with garment factories located in Bangladesh. H&M is committed to protecting the rights of our workers, but the Bangladesh government does not appear to share this commitment. In order for H&M to succeed in expanding its brand in the U.S., we need to promote the fact that we hold ourselves to a higher standard and do not tolerate any violations of our conduct code.

CONTENTS

PAGE

Executive Summary……………………………………………………………………………….4

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………..5

Background………………………………………………………………………………………..5

Child Labor Laws…………………………………………………………………………………6
Bangladeshi Laws and the Problem of Child Labor………………………………………6
H&M’s Code of Conduct for Child Labor………………………………………………...7

Treatment of Female Workers…………………………………………………………………….8
Obstacles For Female Workers in Bangladesh……………………………………………8
H&M’s Stand for Equality………………………………………………………………...9

Hourly Wages……………………………………………………………………………………..9
The Issue With Wages in Bangladesh………………………………………...………….9
H&M’s Living Wage Movement………………………………………………………..10

Recommendations Going Forward………………………………………………………………10

References………………………………………………………………………………………..12

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report examines H&M’s to need to differentiate itself from the Bangladesh government in terms of standards of working conditions in the areas of child labor, female workers, and wages.

Brand Management is Essential for Company Expansion

The global attention on poor working conditions in Bangladesh that followed the Rana Plaza building collapse reflects negatively on H&M. Citizens of the United States historically have placed a major emphasis on the need for high quality working conditions. It is well known that H&M is one of the largest producers of garments in Bangladesh, so our company may be viewed as contributing to the problem.

If H&M wants to expand its market share in the U.S., some brand management is necessary. Already, U.S. customers view H&M as a foreign company because we are based in Sweden. This fact coupled with H&M’s association with such a troubled country as Bangladesh requires us to be as transparent as possible with our U.S. customers.

A Discrepancy in Standards of Working Conditions

H&M wrote and implemented a Code of Conduct in 1997. We have a policy that demands we work only with suppliers who are willing to sign this Code of Conduct. This code outlines guidelines for fair living wages, anti-discrimination clauses, and a strict ban on child labor.1

However, the Bangladesh government does not have laws in place that assist in...

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