Hennes & Mauritz AB has been steadily ramping up its green initiatives as competition heats up between fast-fashion giants to demonstrate their commitment to the environment with a pledge to use only recycled or green materials in its products by 2030. H&M will also work to reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than it emits, with the aim of becoming climate positive throughout its entire value chain by 2040.
In 2011, H&M launched the Conscious Collection, which uses sustainable materials such as organic cotton, organic linen, Tencel and recycled polyester. This was followed in 2013 by a garment collection program that allows customers to drop off used clothing at its stores.
Itâ€™s great to see that the interest in sustainability is increasing all over, from customers to shareholders to other brands and other actors within the industry,â€ Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M, said.
Environmental group Greenpeace has rated H&M and Inditex among the front-runners in its â€œDetox My Fashionâ€ campaign. Together with Benetton, they were awarded â€œavant-gardeâ€ status last year for their progress toward the goal of eliminating hazardous chemicals from the manufacture of clothes by 2020.
However, critics said that the underlying fast-fashion business model is still one of growth and increasing production and consumption, which presents major challenges to environmental sustainability.
H&M reported that recycled and other sustainably sourced materials accounted for 26 percent of the textiles used in its products last year. The supply of sustainable materials was insufficient for future industry needs.
They need to expand and scale up the more sustainable cotton cultivation that takes place today, both including organic but also better cotton, and then they need to invest in a lot more innovation.
Through the nonprofit H&M Foundation, the retailer has met with entrepreneurs developing technology concepts that make the clothing industry more sustainable.
At its Global Change Award ceremony in Stockholm on Wednesday, the foundation is due to reveal how its grant of 1 million euros, or $1.09 million, will be allocated between the five winning projects.
H&M has so far collected 39,000 tons of unwanted textiles through its stores, equivalent to 196 million T-shirts. By 2020, it aims to collect at least 25,000 tons of textiles every year, up from 16,000 in 2016.
H&M have been working with organic cotton for a really long time, and that extra price is not paid by the consumer but rather by them. They believe that it is simply an investment in the product and in what their customers are expecting from them.
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