Fast-fashion retailer and brand H&M, continues with its strong sustainability program and the aim of achieving long-lasting improvements in the areas of education, clean water and strengthening women. Starting this month, February, the H&M Conscious Foundation is to support UNICEF, WaterAid and CARE. Each will receive a total of SEK 180 million over a three-year period.
H&M Conscious Foundation’s focus areas: Education, clean water and strengthening women were selected by H&M employees and customers through a global online voting process in October 2013. All three focus areas derive from the UN Millennium Development Goals. The global programs with UNICEF, WaterAid and CARE aim to drive change within each focus area by supporting new policies and thereby help create long-lasting improvements.
“I congratulate the H&M Conscious Foundation for choosing to support programs in three areas that are critical to sustainable development. The donation can contribute to big breakthroughs in each area”, says Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs – Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals.
The aim of the education program, driven by UNICEF, is to place early childhood development on the global agenda so that more children achieve their full developmental potential. The goal is that by 2017 73,600 children from the most vulnerable groups, will attend preschool education and thus be more prepared for learning.
“The new partnership with the H&M Conscious Foundation is an important example of an alliance that will help mobilise support and harness innovation to unleash the potential of children, everywhere”, says Leila Pakkala, UNICEF Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships.
The global program on clean water, driven by WaterAid, will change the lives of 250,000 schoolchildren by ensuring their access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2017.The program will also seek to influence policies at national level and advocate for universal access to water and sanitation in the new global development framework.
“This unique partnership with the H&M Conscious Foundation will change children’s lives immensely. By ensuring that both girls and boys have an equal chance to stay in school and learn in a safe and healthy environment, we will allow them to fulfil their potential and provide a promising future. The H&M Conscious Foundation’s funding helps us in our aim to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has safe water and sanitation by 2030”, says Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid International.
The global program for change with CARE aims to focus on empowering women in poor communities economically and to inspire and offer advice on policy changes needed worldwide to allow women’s full participation in all walks of life. By 2017, the goal is for 100,000 women in developing countries to have access to tools, knowledge, skills or seed capital, enabling them to start or expand small enterprises in order to empower them economically.
“With the generous commitment and support of the H&M Conscious Foundation we can fulfil our mission and bring about lasting change in the lives of many women and girls, their families and communities around the world. We will be able to work on practical, innovative and sustainable solutions to one of the most important issues of our time”, says CARE’s Secretary General Dr. Robert Glasser.
In addition to the global programs, H&M Conscious Foundation will, during 2014, also initiate country specific programs in countries where H&M operates, mirroring the themes selected by the voting. These local projects will be implemented by other organisations than the three selected for the global programs.
Funding: Thanks to the Stefan Persson family’s substantial donation of SEK 500 million in 2013, it is possible for the H&M Conscious Foundation to make real impact for people and communities. The three programs for change will in total receive SEK 180 million to drive change during a three-year period.
Check it out at www.makeadifference.hm.com and www.hm.com/consciousfoundation.