H&M plans to lend its experience to local textile professionals and to contribute to the development of the local industry. The group announced that it will order from suppliers who have received the support of Swedfund.
This partnership will further the development of common standards for sustainable production, water use and wages.
"We see the cooperation as an opportunity to get involved in Ethiopia's growing textile industry at an early stage and to contribute to more jobs,” said H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson.
"We have for many years worked in existing manufacturing countries to improve working conditions and the environment. This experience is included with the establishment of cooperation with Ethiopian suppliers."
By committing to use only organic cotton by 2020, and by putting direct pressure on certain governments to raise the minimum wage for textile workers, H&M has worked for the past several seasons to improve its image among consumers.
Its duty to set an example has nevertheless been regularly undermined by various reports, including in a French documentary entitled “le monde selon H&M” (the world according to H&M) aired on the television network Canal+ in spring.
As of the end of July, H&M’s retail network included 3314 stores, as opposed to 2,940 one year earlier. Its retail development has considerably supported sales, and allowed the company to achieve a turnover up 6% at close to 17 billion euros for its fiscal year ending in late November.