LONDON: The world’s second-biggest fashion retailer H&M has decided to gradually stop sourcing from Myanmar, it told Reuters today, as reports of labour abuses in garment factories in the country increase.
H&M became the latest brand to cut ties with suppliers in the country after Zara owner Inditex, Primark, Marks & Spencer and others.
“After careful consideration we have now taken the decision to gradually phase out our operations in Myanmar,” H&M said in an email to Reuters.
“We have been monitoring the latest developments in Myanmar very closely and we see increased challenges to conduct our operations according to our standards and requirements.”
Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Min Tun was not immediately available to comment on H&M’s announced exit.
H&M said yesterday it was investigating 20 alleged instances of labour abuse at Myanmar garment factories that supply it, as a UK-based NGO said cases of alleged abuses including wage theft and forced overtime have multiplied since a military coup in February 2021.
The coup plunged Myanmar into an ongoing political and humanitarian crisis.
Some diplomats and experts argue that brands pulling their business from Myanmar could ultimately make garment sector workers, most of whom are women, worse off.
The country has more than 500 garment factories producing clothes and shoes for western brands.
Major corporations in other sectors have also withdrawn from Myanmar, with oil majors TotalEnergies and Chevron announcing their exit in January last year.