H&M and Humane Society Partner Up!
H&M, one of the largest and affordable fashion retailers in the world, has partnered up with Humane Society International (HSI) in order to promote the notion of “cruelty-free” fashion.
This initiative means that H&M and HSI will now join forces in order to put a stop to animal testing around the globe, and instead offer cruelty-free alternatives in their place. They will apply this ethical standard to the production of wool and down as well.
In terms of the products offered through H&M, this new partnership will expand the cruelty-free practices to its beauty and fashion departments. H&M currently does carry a line of cosmetics that do not test on animals and will join the hashtag campaign initiated by HSI: #BeCrueltyFree, which was launched in 2012. Madelene Ericson, Sustainability Business Expert at H&M, stated:
“Animal welfare is important to us at H&M and we want to contribute to improved animal welfare practices in our industry, which is why we are committing ourselves not only to further improve our own requirements, but also to work collaboratively with HSI to elevate standards throughout the industry and globally. HSI is a globally recognized organization with long experience within this area we believe they will be a very good partner in pushing for change and we hope that other companies will be inspired to do likewise.”
In terms of fashion, with this new partnership, H&M will work with HSI in pursuing ethical changes in the way both wool and down are produced. This means avoiding the common practice of mulesing in sheep, where farmers cut large patches of skin off the back of the animals in order to prevent flies from gathering on the wool. This practice is done without the use of anesthesia. As with down, due to high demands, geese and duck are often plucked while they are still alive. Chetana Mirle, director of the HSI’s farm animals department, elaborated on the significance of this aspect of the partnership, stating:
“Within the fashion industry, the hidden suffering of animals used in the production of wool, down, and leather is too often ignored. H&M is demonstrating great leadership by expanding its existing animal welfare commitments, and supporting the development of certification and educational programs that will actively improve the welfare of animals such as sheep, goats, geese and ducks in the industry as a whole. We are particularly looking forward to working together to eliminate cruel farming practices such as mulesing from the fashion industry, which would be an immense animal welfare achievement.”
H&M is now a part of the over 500 cruelty-free cosmetic companies around the world. If a big business like H&M can do it, let’s hope it will inspire many other small and large companies alike that being aiming to become an ethical company does not mean suffering financial losses. Hopefully, time will show that it will result in the opposite.
Photo Credit: http://www.cityplug.be/en/Brussels/B4UC3B41_Shopping_H-M-Ixelles.html