The World according to H&M

A film by Marie Maurice

Fashion brand H&M has changed the clothing retail business for good. Offering stylish clothes at affordable prices: here is the Swedish firm’s recipe for success. Through their 3000 stores, 15 billion euros worth of clothes and accessories are sold every year. Profits reached 1.7 billion euros in 2012.

Partnerships with couture designers and renowned NGOs, good management of their corporate social responsibility. Glamorous H&M is immaculately dressed.

But behind this outgoing, responsible and ethical shop window lie much more questionable practices. In Bangladesh, workshops where H&M clothes are made, security is still disregarded, despite the Rana Plazza tragedy. In Ethiopia – the new textile Eldorado – modern factories were built upon violent expropriations and with the help of some controversial tycoon.

This investigation takes us on a tour on planet H&M: from the workshops in Bangladesh and Ethiopia to the discreet fiscal optimization in Europe, where the brand also managed to cash in public subsidiaries. Its brutal management is aimed at silencing any protesting voice.

Externalize is H&M’s way to both kill costs and get rid of the risk-related responsibility. This film shows how H&M hides its dirty little secrets behind an aggressive CSR communication.