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H&M customers and employees made their voices heard – this is the result

One year ago, in October 2013, H&M employees and customers were asked to use their voice to influence which three global issues the H&M Foundation should support in the upcoming years. During one week 120,000 votes were collected – and the focus areas that got the most votes were Education, Clean Water and Strengthening Women. As a result the H&M Foundation is now working with three global programs within these areas, designed to drive positive change in the world’s poorest communities.

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“The online voting was a great way to empower our employees as well as customers and let them have a voice when it comes to what the H&M Foundation should focus on. We are very grateful for every vote – they guided us to understand what issues are of concern to a large group of people across the world.” says Helena Thybell, Global Manager H&M Foundation.

After involving H&M employees and customers in deciding the focus areas H&M Foundation partnered with UNICEF, WaterAid and CARE; three non-profit organizations furnished to drive long term change on a global scale within each area. The programs are receiving a total of SEK 180 million (€ 20.4 million, $ 27.9 million) each over a three-year-period.

The H&M Foundation also partnered with super model Alek Wek, who is now an official Ambassador supporting the foundation’s work.

Education – in partnership with UNICEF

H&M Foundation is partnering with UNICEF in a three year program to provide over 73,000 of the world’s most vulnerable children with access to early childhood development programs. The global program will also work on a policy level to strengthen the ability of governments to translate policies into action.

Clean water – in partnership with WaterAid

H&M Foundation is partnering with WaterAid in a three year program to provide 250,000 students, in the world’s poorest countries, with clean water and sanitation in schools. The global program will also work on a policy level in order to make sure that the issue of water, sanitation and hygiene education is politically prioritized, and financially resourced.

Strengthening women – in partnership with CARE

H&M Foundation is partnering with CARE in a three year program to provide 100,000 women in poor communities with access to knowledge, skills and/or seed capital to start up or expand their businesses in order to empower them economically. The global program will also advocate for policy changes to allow more women to reach their full potential and exercise their rights.