The three companies recently collaborated on the opening of a textile factory in Mekelle, Ethiopia, which will create 4,000 jobs in the area.
Development financier Swedfund and exporter company DBL group signed a loan agreement at the Addis Ababa Swedish Embassy last week. Swedfund, DBL and the Development Bank of Ethiopia agreed to invest in the factory with H&M as a main buyer client.
“We have managed to form a unique partnership in Ethiopia with deep professional knowledge in every part of the process in order to fulfill the high sustainability requirements. It is a great example of how to work to achieve efficient job creation, and in this project it is particularly focused on women,” Anna Ryott, Swedfund managing director, said. “Job creation is crucial to help people find their way out of poverty and the cooperation with such a great partners like H&M and DBL will make this a role model for other similar projects.”
Major goals of the textile factory project include improving working conditions, creating jobs for women and promoting environmentally-friendly practices among supply chains. DBL group, H&M and Swedfund will also work with other local and international officials to fortify these efforts.
All three companies also bring their own sustainable industry strengths to the table. DBL will own the Mekelle factory, since it is one of the world’s largest and most sustainable exporters of ready-made garments. Swedfund will invest $15 million in order to promote financial sustainability. H&M lends its expertise in sustainable large scale textile production to the project.
Helena Helmersson, global head of production at H&M, talked about how the company is working with DBL and Swedfund to improve economical, social and sustainable conditions within Ethiopia’s garment factories.
“H&M is pleased that Swedfund is co-financing a project with DBL Group,” Helmersson said. “H&M wants to contribute to a long-term sustainable textile industry in Ethiopia taking social as well as environmental dimensions into consideration. It is important to us that both DBL and Swedfund are putting these questions on top of their agenda when doing investments.”