Different ways to say ‘about’: H&M goes ethical

This text is about H&M becoming a more ethical company. Different ways to say about and useful language are both highlighted and explained below. Don’t forget to do the quiz and answer the discussion questions.If you want a print-friendly version of the article, click here.     H&M is the world’s second largest clothing retailer and their shops are a common sight on roughly every British high street. The company sells around 550 million garments every single year. Their net quarterly profits from approximately 2400 shops worldwide are in the region of $410m Along with Zara, H&M was a founder of ‘fast fashion’ which refers to the quick speed that latest fashions move from the catwalk to the stores. This is on account of a rapid-response production system which has made H&M and Zara so profitable. They offer reasonably priced versions of just about every high-end label. Their chairman, Stefan Persson, is still impressed with how popular the shops have become. You can find H&M in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and North America. H&M is more or less everywhere. Low prices mean low wages and H&M is accused of exploiting workers in undeveloped countries. In fact, it is pretty much the main target in the clothes retailing world for this criticism. It’s not surprising when you realise that some clothes only cost 1p to produce in a third world sweat shop yet retail at something like £30 on the high street. To improve their image, H&M are having a serious makeover. They want to reposition themselves as an ethical retailer in the eyes of their customers. Helena Helmersson, head of sustainability at H&M, promises that the company is trying its best to improve and be a responsible producer. It seems that H&M is doing just about everything it can. Last year, they created ‘good working conditions’ contracts and increased use of recycled and organic materials. By 2020, they hope to have almost 100% sustainably sourced cotton. While later this year, customers will be able to buy new Conscious Collection created from eco-fibres.   [poll id=”37″]

Different ways to say ‘about’

When you don’t know a precise number or amount you can use these phrases as alternatives to just saying ‘about’: roughly around approximately in the region of just about more or less is pretty much something like just about almost

Useful language: Vocabulary glossary

A common sight
Can be seen in many places
Net quarterly profits
How much a company has earned/lost over 3 months
Fast fashion
New fashions which quickly become available in shops
The catwalk
A long stage where models show the new designer clothes they are wearing
Rapid-response production
Where new clothes are made quickly when needed
High-end label
A famous and expensive brand
Third world sweat shop
A factory in an undeveloped country where people, often children, are paid very poorly and made to work hard and long hours
An improvement
Being able to be used again and again without running out
Working conditions
Everything about a job such as the hours and amount of work
Used again
Organic materials
Fabrics made from natural substances
Ethical retailer
Shops which care about doing the right things
Sustainably sourced
Bought or taken in a way which will have no or little affect on the environment
Thread used for making clothes which is environmentally friendly

Discussion questions

  1. Why do you think H&M wants to reposition itself as an ethical retailer?
  2. Will they make more money?
  3. Are eco-clothes better than normal ones?

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