The move is an effort by the company to help stem the spread of coronavirus. H&M said it is now attempting to figure out what is most urgently needed and how its supply chain could assist.
“The EU has asked us to share our purchasing operations and logistics capabilities in order to source supplies, but in this urgent initial phase, we will donate the supplies,” an H&M spokeswoman said.
H&M said that it heard masks were the most dire need, but that gowns and gloves were also in demand.
The clothing and fashion company has shuttered many of its stores due to the pandemic, but it has suppliers around the world that can help to distribute products. The company has most of its supply lines in Asia, in countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh and India, but also in China.
The spread of the virus has pushed the private sector into action, with some aerospace and automobile manufacturers repurposing their factories to make ventilators.
Inditex, which owns large fashion company Zara, recently said it would make hospital gowns to help health workers in Spain. While the pandemic shut down about half of Zara stores, the company said it would make its logistics and supplier network available to Spain so that it could “meet Spain’s emergency needs of both medical and textile materials.”
So far, Xara has donated 10,000 masks, with 300,000 more on the way.
H&M has said it would prioritize sending help to countries where the bloc said there was the largest need, but that it didn’t have to be bloc-exclusive.