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Swedish company to encourage suppliers to pay workers digitally

DHAKA, March 9, 2017 (BSS)-The Swedish fashion company H and M group will now encourage its suppliers to pay their workers through mobile money or other digital forms to improve the livelihoods of its workforce, enhance transparency and cut factory costs.

The company has taken the steps as it has officially joined the 'Better Than Cash Alliance', a United Nations-based partnership of governments, companies and international organizations accelerating the transition from cash to digital payments, said a media release here today.

"Digital payments are an efficient and scalable way to improve the lives of the employees of our suppliers. They offer a faster, safer and more transparent way to receive their salary, increase financial inclusion and support women's economic independence," said Gustav Loven, Social Sustainability Manager at H and M group.

Sixty-five percent of the 1.6 million people employed along H and M group's supply chain are women, many of them with limited access to the financial services they need to create a better life for themselves and their families.

Many factory workers worldwide are paid entirely in cash, which entails cumbersome, expensive and dangerous processes for both factories and workers. Encouraging suppliers to pay wages through digital channels, such as bank accounts, cards or mobile money, will build on H and M group's sustainability commitment to work with its business partners to promote good working conditions, fair living wages and sustainable economic growth.

As the majority of the benefits will be realized by female workers, this move is a prime example of a corporation working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8).

"H and M group is taking a bold step in recognizing how cash-heavy supply chains limit efforts to empower workers and prevent companies from increasing transparency. And, it's inefficient," said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Better Than Cash Alliance.

"H and M group's leadership will help inspire other companies in the industry, and beyond, to make the shift to digital payments and contribute to inclusive growth, as well as to the Sustainable Development Goals, in emerging markets," Ruth Goodwin-Groen added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)