The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the worldwide textile trade company H&M on Monday forged a unique partnership to promote sustainable global supply chains in the garment industry.
The agreement will include joint work on industrial relations and wages, training and skills development in factories H&M source from, as well as strengthening employers' and workers' organizations in the global garment industry, said the ILO in a press release at its headquarters in Geneva.
"Issues in the garment industry are systemic and require action that helps develop effective industrial relations and promote respect of international labor standards. There is therefore an urgent need to establish strategic and comprehensive collaborations with companies that have experience in these fields, such as H&M," said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
"We see the cooperation as a great opportunity to further strengthen our work towards the establishment of well-functioning industrial relations on all our strategic production markets. ILO, with its unique tripartite composition, is the perfect partner for addressing issues such as wages and training and skills development in the textile industry," said Karl-Johan Persson, CEO at H&M.
The cooperation between the ILO and H&M dates back to 2001, when H&M joined the ILO Better Factories program in Cambodia. In 2013, the cooperation was expanded to specifically address industrial relations and wages in the country, including actions at the governance level.
Another important collaboration began in 2013 with a training and skills development project in Bangladesh, aiming to improve the quality of work and productivity in factories, and to enable workers to document and have their skills formally recognized.
The more comprehensive and strategic partnership under the new agreement will promote a wide range of activities at the global, national and enterprise level in a larger number of countries, until the end of 2018.
The partnership is intended to establish a positive and innovative model for other brands and create a global alliance to promote the ILO's Decent Work Agenda in the supply chain of the global garment industry.