UNICEF's corporate partnerships


UNICEF’s partnership with the H&M Conscious Foundation


Giving children best possible start in life

Learning begins at early childhood. The first few years of children's lives lay the foundation for their ability to succeed in life. Physical health as well as social and learning abilities are set. Development of the brain is rapid during the first 8 year and properly nurtured can unleash great potential in each and every child. It is a period of great opportunity, but also one of great vulnerability for children. Data indicates that more than 200 million children under the age of five are failing to attain their full potential because of poverty, poor health, a lack of adequate nutrition, care, and limited opportunities to learn. This can affect a child’s potential for the remainder of his or her life.

Children, who receive early childhood care and education, are more likely to learn, stay in school and graduate from school. This in turn leads to greater social and economic potential later in life, which has huge effects on societies, and economic and social development. By giving children a chance to thrive, not just survive, they could also contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty. Still, not many donors or governments realize the potential of Early Childhood Development and Education. And even fewer prioritize funding it.

This is why the H&M Conscious Foundation wants to contribute to filling that gap. Increasing access to quality early childhood development programmes is a smart investment not just for the individual child, but for the society as a whole. Since 2014 the foundation supports UNICEF with SEK60 million (about US$9 million) in a three year programme that aims to give the most vulnerable and excluded children the best possible start in life.

According to Pia Britto, Senior Advisor on Early Childhood Development at UNICEF: “The H&M Conscious Foundation, Champion for Early Childhood Development, is truly committed to support programmes and policies to build a better future for children and make sure that they not only survive their early years, but thrive in them.”

The programme supported by H&M Conscious Foundation is a global effort that includes three key focus areas:
• 73,600 children will benefit from early childhood development programmes supported through this partnership.
• Three National Development Agendas have included Early Childhood Development, and are supported by national budgetary resources.
• The first-ever Global Report on Early Childhood Development highlighting key early development indicators will be released and help shift global perceptions of the importance of early childhood development.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1243/Pirozzi


- Short film about H&M Conscious Foundations investment in education and early childhood development: http://sustainability.hm.com/en/sustainability/about/hm-conscious/hm-conscious-foundation/our-global-programs/education.html

- 1 minute version: http://youtu.be/i14FpspKCAo

- UNICEF blog on ECD: http://blogs.unicef.org/2014/09/25/early-childhood-development-champions-converge-on-unicef/

- Recent article published in The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/feb/06/early-childhood-development-programmes-can-break-cycle-of-poverty

H&M Conscious Foundation is a non-profit global foundation initiated by H&M, complementing H&M’s sustainability work. The mission of the Foundation is to contribute to positive long-term change for people and communities, where H&M operates. The H&M Conscious Foundation is engaged in three focus areas; Education, Clean Water and Strengthening Women.
For more information visit: http://www.hm.com/consciousfoundation

UNICEF's partnership with H&M



All children have rights which should be respected, protected and fulfilled to ensure they can grow and reach their potential. Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 4)

UNICEF believes that partnerships and collaborative relationships with the business sector are critical to improving the lives of children and to realizing their rights. Over the past few years, the business sector has played an increasingly important role - as both a donor and advocate for children’s rights helping UNICEF in its work.

H&M is committed to protecting children’s rights and has partnered with UNICEF on programmes supporting children since 2004.

Since 2004, H&M has contributed over US$ 19 million with funds being invested in areas such as girl’s education, HIV/AIDS prevention, water and sanitation and child protection in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Madagascar, and Uzbekistan. H&M has also contributed to UNICEF’s disaster relief work on several occasions, such as for the Tsunami emergency, the floods in Pakistan, the Haiti earthquake, the drought in the Horn of Africa, and for the ongoing Syria emergency.

In 2009, H&M made a donation of US$ 4.5 million to support a five-year programme in India that aims to improve access to quality education and healthcare services, and ensure that all children between the ages of 6 to 14 are in school.  One million children have already been reached in southern India through this programme supported by H&M. 

In 2012, H&M made its largest donation to community investment of US$ 8 million for a programme in Bangladesh that aims to protect children’s rights by providing access to education. The Programme targets 40,000 children between 3-14 years with the objective to improve access to quality early learning, pre-primary, basic primary education, basic life skills and social protection services.

Since 2012, H&M, alongside other Swedish business leaders, has been involved in a pilot initiative led by UNICEF that aims to help companies understand and assess their impact on children’s rights. This initiative follows the official release in 2012, by UNICEF, the Global Compact and Save the Children, of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, the first comprehensive set of global standards for child-friendly business practices setting out the actions that companies should incorporate to respect and support children's rights.


About H&M

Founded in Sweden in 1947, H&M is today one of the world’s leading fashion companies. The entire H&M group has around 3,600 stores in 55 markets including franchise markets. In 2014, sales including VAT were SEK 151,419 million and the number of employees is more than 132,000.

Read more about H&M – http://about.hm.com/en/About.html




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