FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swedish fashion retail group H&M is seen at a building in Dietlikon

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Friday that it welcomes steps taken by the Swedish multinational clothing-retailer H&M to address concerns raised as a result of its hoodie advertisement.

In January, H&M was embroiled in a racist scandal after it posted an ad of a black boy advertising a hoodie written "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle". H&M "unreservedly apologized" for the ad on its international website.

The company has since suffered massive reputational damage, with sales at it's 4,553 stores around the world declining and South Africa's third largest political party calling for H&M's banning in the country after its members trashed its outlets.

The commission said that it met with H&M's country manager to South Africa, Pär Darj, to present the company's plans to address concerns that the slogan on the sweater was racist and other concerns raised by the commission during its meeting with H&M in January. 

The steps taken include the appointment of managers on diversity and inclusiveness both at a global and national level; a commitment to training its managers and staff on the question of transformation and racism; an undertaking by H&M to submit its internal policies dealing with gender and equality to the commission; and another undertaking to provide progress reports and hold quarterly feedback meetings with the commission.

"The SAHRC welcomes the steps taken by H&M to address these concerns. The commission will continue to monitor the above commitments," the commission said in a statement.

African News Agency/ANA