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H&M aims to be climate positive by 2040

The H&M boss says ‘environmental innovation, renewable energy, improved materials’ are superior ways to tackle climate change than a cut down on consumption

With the increasing protests against fast fashion globally could lead consumers to abandon it. Millions of people across the globe inspire to take to the streets and expressed their anger over what has been described as a ‘climate crisis’.

H&M climate positive 2040
Courtesy: H&M

And the CEO of H&M, Karl-Johan Persson warns that this trend of shaming fast fashion consumers represents a very real social threat. Persson’s been running the global retail giant for a decade.

“We must reduce the environmental impact, at the same time we must also continue to create jobs, get better healthcare and all the things that come with economic growth,” Karl-Johan Persson insists.

“We must reduce the environmental impact, at the same time we must also continue to create jobs, get better healthcare and all the things that come with economic growth.”

Karl-Johan Persson, CEO, H&M

H&M has been a leading player in this fast fashion idea, and also suffered from over-stock. The fashion industry has come under intense scrutiny amid worries about pollution and workers’ rights in the developing economies that have been producing the bulk of the manufacturing. H&M estimated that about 70% of a garment’s impact on the climate happens in the manufacturing process. And by 2040, H&M aims to be climate positive, which means reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than its value chain emits.

“The climate issue is incredibly important. It’s a huge threat and we all need to take it seriously – politicians, companies, individuals. At the same time, the elimination of poverty is a goal that’s at least as important,” he stated.

Experts opined that cheap fashion inspires consumers to buy more often and to discard still-wearable garments. Consumers could easily choose to make this decision but as in most areas, they want to see retailers helping them to make environmentally good choices.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe says part of the problem is that consumers have been obsessed with an ‘era of fast fashion’ that has led to an ‘environmental and social emergency’. The fashion industry is accountable for about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and consumes more energy than aviation and shipping combined, according to the UN.

The H&M boss says ‘environmental innovation, renewable energy, improved materials’ are superior ways to tackle climate change than a cut down on consumption.

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