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H&M extend partnership with HKRITA to expand sustainable textile innovation

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2020-12-14 13:08:07 – Hong Kong

H&M has partnered with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textile and Apparel (HKRITA) in anticipation of a five-year duration collaboration to develop sustainable textiles in the fashion industry.

H&M has decided to increase its financial commitment to $12 million in an attempt to accelerate its goal of the closed-loop textile industry. This extends the partnership established four years ago. 

HKRITA, hosted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, are going to conduct intensive research to make technology breakthroughs and are expected to work with H&M to commercialise these breakthroughs. This research project has received support from the Innovation and Technology Fund of the Hong Kong SAR government.

The partnership has already established innovative solutions with respect to the hydrothermal separation treatment, which is also known as The Green Machine featured in Monki’s latest collection. The first retail model of the Garment to Garment Recycling System (G2G), has been established at H&M in Stockholm.

The four-year extended partnership aims to target the first program that includes carbon-dioxide-capturing cellulose textiles, bio-removal of denim indigo by macroalgae, regenerated cellulose fibre and the development of a super-absorbent polymer.

Erik Bang, innovation lead of H&M Foundation, stated that they don’t know what a planet positive fashion industry would look like and no one does. He added that this goal was the direction and it requires innovation and thinking outside the box in every step of the fashion value chain. He stated that their partnership with HKRITA had far exceeded their expectations and they are excited to expand in scope and ambition. He concluded that they were looking forward to making the Planet First program a revolutionary one with the team at HKRITA. 

Edwin Key, the chief executive officer at HKRITA added that their goal was to find technologies and solutions that they could share openly with the industry to ensure rapid scaling and a positive impact. 

The companies have commenced consulting firm PIE strategy to conduct a comparative environmental impact assessment of the hydrothermal separation treatment. The full report in the first quarter of 2021 will provide a comprehensive picture of the environmental benefits of the technology used through the entire life cycle of a garment. 

The two companies also look forward to setting up a joint research laboratory program that will be launched in Hong Kong to develop solutions, encourage collaboration and support and further facilitate the sustainable development of the textile and fashion industry. 

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