Fast-fashion retailer Shein has announced it will invest a total of $70m (£56m) in its supply chain initiatives over the next five years in a bid to “support and empower third-party manufacturing suppliers, their workers and workers’ families”.

The new $55m (£44m) investment builds upon Shein’s confirmed $15m (£12m) investment into its Supplier Community Empowerment Programme (SCEP) last year.

Shein said its investments will focus on transforming its production models with new technology, upskilling its workers and enhancing facilities and services.

The fashion retailer said in a statement that its mission of making fashion accessible relies heavily on having “an empowered supply chain”.

Shein said that 31 of its factories have “undergone facility enhancements, upgrades and expansion” to date, and pledged to continue its efforts for an additional 100 factories this year, as well as up to 300 factories within the next four years.

Last year, Shein said it provided more than 380 training sessions for its workers within the supply chain and confirmed plans to enhance this to 480 training sessions this year.

The investment will also include accommodation, leisure spaces, canteens and childcare centres for staff, which will be free for its factory and supplier workers.

Shein general manager of supply chain Tony Ren said: “Over the last 10 years, Shein has been at the forefront of transforming the fashion industry by promoting our innovative on-demand production model that reduces redundant production and creates more value for our consumers, the industry and society as a whole.

“Shein will continue to strive for the empowerment of the fashion industry using cutting-edge innovation exploration, research and training.”

Shein global head of environmental and social governance Adam Whinston added: “The supplier community is the foundation for the sustainable development of the fashion ecosystem and Shein will continue its efforts to empower this group, deepening the industry’s innovation capabilities, and promoting on-demand and lean production models for a more sustainable industry.”

The announcement comes as Shein executive vice-chairman Donald Tang spoke at World Retail Congress yesterday, and told delegates that everything the retailer will do over the next decade will be with “sustainability and ESG in mind”.