H&M keeps going for green with new sustainability pledges
Fast fashion retailer H&M has promised to use 100 percent recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030.
The commitment was announced on Tuesday in the Swedish retailer’s 2016 Sustainability Report and is just one of many sustainable pledges the H&M group has made. H&M also announced plans to become climate positive throughout its entire value chain by 2040, which will entail a switch to 100 percent renewable electricity and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
"We want to use our size and scale to lead the change towards circular and renewable fashion while making our company even more fair and equal. This is why we have developed a new strategy aiming to take our sustainability work to the next level,” says Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability at the H&M group.
Though H&M is often recognized as the epitome of fast fashion and with it, an offender of unsustainable retail practices, the retailer has come a long way to be one of today’s most sustainable retail chains. In 2016, H&M was named the biggest global user of cotton certified by the Better Cotton Initiative. Though, only 43 percent of H&M's total 2016 cotton use came from sustainable sources.
What’s more, its Garment Collecting initiative, launched in 2013, has collected 39,000 tonnes of unwanted textiles. That's as much fabric as in 196 million t-shirts, the company says. By 2020, it aims to collect at least 25,000 tonnes of textiles each year.
H&M has also launched Fair Living Wage and industrial relations programs, committed to improving working conditions in the textile industry. As part of this, H&M works to implement improved wage management systems at supplier factories, as well as proper training on workplace dialogue for workers and management.
Still, H&M isn’t alone. Other fast-fashion giants have been increasingly pioneering sustainable initiatives in an effort to gain sustainable credentials among consumers. Spanish business Inditex for example, parent company of Zara and Massimo Dutti, also announced last year plans to go “green” with the introduction of new textile fibers and recycling programs.
Fast fashion chains have also been launching sustainable collections such as H&M’s Conscious Collection, first launched in 2011. Most recently, Spanish retailer Mango launched a collection made with sustainable materials as part of its ‘Take Action’ project launched last year, which again aims to create a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly business model.
"We want to lead by example, pave the way and try new things – both when it comes to the environmental and social side – to ultimately make fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable," adds Gedda.
The H&M group currently has more than 4,400 stores in 65 markets including franchise markets.
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