Target: H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson
Goal: Stop producing clothes in low-wage Cambodian sweatshops in which employees allegedly endure criminal abuse and dangerous conditions.
Many fast fashion retailers, including the internationally ubiquitous H&M, outsource factory work to Cambodian sweatshops where highly dangerous conditions have been reported. The workers can expect low pay, forced overtime, and fixed-term contracts. Reports of mass fainting spells due to extreme heat have caught the media’s attention, and protests were even met with gun violence in 2014, when police shot workers down for demanding fairer wages.
H&M can afford to sell their clothes at such inexpensive prices because the workers paid to make them only earn about fifty cents an hour. Approximately 90% of workers in Cambodian garment factories are women, and if they become pregnant, they are liable to be demoted or even fired without notice. Sexual harassment from factory owners and managers is reportedly not uncommon. Because many mothers need to work but cannot afford childcare, young children can often be found at factories, unprotected from the dangerous chemicals used to treat the fabric. Some children as young as 12 even work in the factories alongside adults.
H&M does not own any factories itself, but it does continue to purchase from these factories to keep its costs low. By slightly raising prices, the company could stay in business while avoiding the exploitation of workers. In order for H&M to truly be viewed as a sustainable company, it must follow in the footsteps of progressive clothing companies and prioritize human rights over profit.
By signing this petition, you will help urge H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson to stop producing products in Cambodian sweatshops with a record of human rights abuses.
Dear CEO Karl-Johan Persson,
The working conditions at factories in Cambodia at which H&M products are produced are disgraceful, and must be rectified. At many of these sweatshops, workers allegedly are paid unreasonably low wages, face dangerous and unhealthy working conditions, and can even experience blatant discrimination and violence. Forced overtime and child labor have been reported from many of the Cambodian factories where your company’s clothes are being made.
Not only do these working conditions fail to meet basic standards of human decency, but they discredit H&M’s claims of being a progressive and sustainable company. Activists have started to take a stand against companies like yours that blindly prioritize profit over people.
I urge you to promote supply-chain transparency in your company, and to refuse to purchase from factories with proven human rights violations. Not only will you be doing your part to end poor working conditions, you will directly appeal to the growing number of consumers who care about how their clothes were produced.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Robert Linder