Contrary to popular perceptions of how fast-fashion brands do business, H&M has been named a 2014 World's Most Ethical Company. The award was given by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent research group that promotes "best practices in corporate ethics and governance."
According to a statement from H&M, the award recognizes companies that "understand the correlation between ethics, reputation, and daily interactions with their brand." If you find that sentence a little tough to parse, you're not alone. Luckily, the Ethisphere Institute helpfully provided its scoring rubric. Companies are rated on five key categories: ethics and compliance, reputation, leadership and innovation, governance, corporate citizenship and responsibility, and culture of ethics.
The award does not seem to take into account the Swedish retailer's manufacturing process or labor practices. Still, the brand has made some great strides in collecting and using recycled fabrics and organic and sustainable textiles in its Conscious collections. H&M is one of only three companies in the apparel industry to receive the award this year. Here's hoping that the corporate culture of ethics trickles down to its manufacturing employees, too.
The full list of the 2014 World's Most Ethical Companies can be found at Ethisphere Institute.
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