For a fast-fashion retailer, H&M is making significant strides to improve the social consciousness of its business worldwide. The latest campaign is a collaboration between H&M and the Humane Society International to end animal cruelty in the beauty and fashion industries. The Swedish retailer released a statement today, along with the Humane Society International, that details its commitment to promoting animal welfare.
This isn't the first time H&M has publicly promoted its sustainable and socially conscious practices. It launched a fashion recycling program and has been a champion of fair wages in countries like Bangladesh and Cambodia, where a significant portion of its products are made.
The new campaign has two prongs: The first is a commitment to cruelty-free beauty products, which aren't tested on animals. The second is avoiding cruel practices like plucking live birds and force-feeding them to promote growth. The company is a Humane Society "fur-free" retailer, and does not make leather products from animals that are not going to be used for food.
"It is always exciting to partner with a company that shares our passion for animal protection," Humane Society International CEO Andrew Rowan said in a statement. "Working with H&M to end cosmetics animal testing, and improve the lives of animals on farms, will set a high standard for others to follow."
It's obviously a tough balance between wanting to be a socially conscious retailer and one that makes a profit. Initiatives like this are expensive, but often worth it. H&M is already generating positive PR from its announcement, and will likely continue to as it promotes the #BeCrueltyFree campaign with the Humane Society.
When so many retailers have to reject sustainable practices because of the expense, it's refreshing to see one as large as H&M standing up against animal cruelty. Hopefully H&M's lead will encourage other retailers to make strides in this area as well.
Image: H&M Studio AW15