Last week H&M revealed their supplier list with the release of their 2012 Sustainability Report. They are of the first and largest companies to do so.
While CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has been of great significance to the industry for 20+ years, it has not resulted in naming factories. Supplier sources have long been considered proprietary knowledge and a competitive advantage for many of the fashion industry's best brands. Each brand works to help their suppliers increase capacity, quality, textile production and finishing techniques for their benefit. In an industry where retailers tour factories for design ideas and look to capture production capacity from the best suppliers, this move indicates a degree of confidence the company has with its factory-relationships and sustained buying power.
Today we have built strong, strategic bonds with our suppliers, allowing us to disclose their names, their factories and even their locations without major concerns about the ongoing competition on the best available production capacity in our industry.
In turn, we can now incentivize our suppliers for taking ownership over their sustainability and recognize the progress they make.
Supply chain sustainability and transparency continues to grow, and is championed most significantly in the consumer realm by Patagonia and Nike. H&M also made significant headway in the use of organic and recycled cotton (the largest globally), and is championing a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) -backed water initiative. Read H&M's Conscious Actions Sustainability Report 2012 here.