H&M may be known as a fast fashion brand, but it’s also becoming a pioneer in transparency. Today, the Swedish-based retailer said that beginning Tuesday, it will list the supplier or factories where a garment was made on H&M’s website. The supplier information is not only arriving on H&M’s website but will also be available in store by scanning an item’s price tag with the H&M app, which will then display the supplier information.
Not only will H&M share the supplier or factory’s name, but also the country of production (which is, of course, already an industry standard and required by law), supplier or factory addresses and the number of factory workers. Direct-to-consumer brands like Everlane made a name for themselves by providing further information, but it’s unprecedented for a behemoth retailer like H&M—it has nearly 5,000 brick-and-mortar locations worldwide. The hope, H&M said in a statement, is that “by sharing extended details on where our garments are made, we make it easier for customers to make more informed choices when shopping.”
“We are so proud to be the first global fashion retailer of our size and scale to launch this level of product transparency,” said Isak Roth, head of sustainability at H&M, in a statement. “We want to show the world that this is possible. By being open and transparent about where our products are made we hope to set the bar for our industry and encourage customers to make more sustainable choices. With transparency comes responsibility, making transparency such an important factor to help create a more sustainable fashion industry.”
Despite H&M’s fast fashion reputation, this move shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise to those who have followed H&M in recent years. The company has released an annual sustainability report for 11 years running (this announcement coincides with the release of this year’s report). Five years ago, it released the names of addresses of 95% of its suppliers in 23 countries, including Bangladesh. (However, as The Fashion Law notes, these disclosures do not account for the sub-contractors who are often a major part of a garment’s supply chain from thread to store.)
The new feature is a sign that even the world’s biggest retailers are listening to the public desire for greater transparency when it comes to making their purchasing decisions.