H&M begins exit from Myanmar

H&M begins exit from Myanmar

August 25, 2023

H&M has begun the process of exiting Myanmar, the company confirmed to Fashion Dive.

The Sweden-based fast-fashion giant sources materials from 26 suppliers and 39 factories in Myanmar, according to the supply chain disclosure on its website. China, with 375 suppliers and 421 factories, and Bangladesh, with 137 suppliers and 227 factories, are the company’s largest manufacturing bases.

Myanmar has been under military rule since February 2021, when a junta seized control, deposing the elected government.

“We have been monitoring the latest developments in Myanmar very closely and we see increased challenges to conduct our operations according to our standards and requirements,” an H&M spokesperson said in an email. “After careful consideration we have now taken the decision to gradually phase out our operations in Myanmar. During this process we will continue to engage with our stakeholders as part of our enhanced due diligence process.”

Since the government was seized, labor rights groups, including Industriall, have called for those doing business there to divest from the country. Industriall’s call is based on its strategy to isolate the military junta diplomatically and economically as a way “to bring peaceful change to Myanmar,” according to the union’s website.

H&M competitor Zara’s parent company Inditex announced it was divesting its business from Myanmar in June, citing Industriall’s call. Other companies have made this move, including Primark and Marks and Spencer.

Forced labor concerns are also part of the campaigns calling for exit. In May, Walk Free released its 2023 Global Slavery Index, which found that garments and textiles were at risk of being made using forced labor. The same report noted that children in Myanmar had experienced forced labor conditions on rubber plantations.

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