H&M and Swedfund have come together in a unique cooperation in Ethiopia. The aim is to contribute to the development of a responsible Ethiopian textile industry characterized by both high social and environmental standards. The partnership will start this autumn.
The first steps of this collaboration were taken after talks between Swedfund and H&M. The plans were further developed during a joint trip to Ethiopia in May this year when they were examining factories together.
– 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. 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, says Karl-Johan Persson, CEO at H&M.
Building a strong domestic industry is crucial for job creation in Ethiopia. Investing in production ensures that added value from the textile industry will to a larger extent remain in the country. In this cooperation H&M will contribute with expertise and knowledge of the textile market as well as purchase of products from suppliers that Swedfund will invest in. Swedfund will provide local market expertise and expansion investments in suppliers to H&M. The cooperation will also involve both parties setting standards for sustainable production and following up indicators such as water use and wages.
– Through this unique partnership with H&M, our goal is to contribute to developing the textile industry in Ethiopia, thus creating jobs with good working conditions that lift people out of poverty, especially women, says Anna Ryott, CEO at Swedfund.
Through Swedfund’s role as investor, H&M:s purchase of products and each parties respective knowledge and expertise, a strong and viable textile industry can be developed that will be able to operate and thrive with financial strength and on a sustainable basis.
Swedfund, owned by the Swedish state, provides risk capital, expertise and financial support for investments in the emerging markets of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Our mission is poverty reduction through sustainable business, contributing to economic and environmental development as well as a positive impact to society. Since 1979 Swedfund has been engaged as an active, responsible and long-term investor in more than 230 companies in our countries of operation.