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H&M pledges to become 100% circular and renewable

The H&M group has made a landmark pledge to use 100% recycled or sustainable-source materials in its products by 2030 as a part of its commitment to be “climate positive” throughout its supply chain by 2040. The commitment was announced as retail giant published its 2016 Sustainability Report.

H&M pledges to become 100% circular and renewableTo become climate positive, the H&M group focuses on energy efficiency, renewable energy and to address unavoidable emissions through activities strengthening the planets ability to recover and resist climate change, as well as supporting technological innovations making it possible to absorb greenhouse gases.

This H&M vision is built on three ambitions:
⦁ 100% leading the change
⦁ 100% circular & renewable
⦁ 100% fair & equal

According to footprintnetwork.org, our planet sustains us, but our global demand for resources is outstripping supply. Today, it would take 1.5 planets to support our lifestyles. If we continue along the same track, we will need the equivalent of 2.3 planets by 2050. In part, this is because the global middle class is expected to increase by over three billion people in the next two decades, which will inevitably lead to an increase in consumer demand. And, like today, everyone will want clothes that keep them warm and dry as well as help them express who they are and what they stand for. Considering this inevitable reality, H&M group sets part of its sustainability strategy is to become 100% circular and renewable.
1100% Circular

H&M sets its goal to use 100% recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and to use 100% cotton from sustainable sources by 2020, including certified organic, recycled and Better Cotton (BCI).

In 2016, 43% of H&M’s total cotton use came from sustainable sources. The goal is to use only such cotton by 2020.

By 2030, H&M aims to use only recycled or other sustainably sourced materials in its products. In 2016, this share was 26%.

The H&M group is stepping up its ambitions when it comes to recycling and reuse, and announces a new goal closely connected to its circular approach; to annually collect at least 25,000 tonnes of textiles in its stores by 2020. In total, 39,000 tonnes of textiles was collected which is equivalent to 196 million t-shirts since the start of the Garment Collecting initiative in 2013.

Regarding sustainable production process, H&M declares to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in production procedures by 2020 and complete installation of water-efficient equipment in H&M’s own operations by 2020.

Figure 1: H&M is leading the change in fashion cycle and contributing in building circular fashion.
Figure 1: H&M is leading the change in fashion cycle and contributing in building circular fashion.

100% Renewable

H&M aspires to become climate positive throughout its value chain by 2040 by reducing electricity use in H&M stores by 25% by 2030 and by using 100% renewable energy in its own operations.

Renewable energy is an essential component of cutting global carbon emissions. In 2016, the H&M group reduced its CO2 emissions by 47% compared to 2015.

H&M used recycled polyester equivalent of more than 180 million PET bottles in 2016.


Figure 2: H&M Carbon emission reduction trend.
Figure 2: H&M Carbon emission reduction trend.

Talking about this ambitious step, Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M group said, “It has always been important to us to act in a way that makes it possible not just for the present but also future generations to enjoy fashion.”

Another key highlight is the commitment to switch to 100% renewable electricity. In 2016, 96% of the company’s global electricity in its own operations came from renewable sources which was 78% in 2015.

“We want to use our size and scale to lead the change towards circular and renewable fashion while making our company more fair and equal. We have developed a new strategy aiming to take our sustainability work to the next level” said Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability at the H&M group.

“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. Our climate positive strategy is one way of doing this”, Gedda added.

Advancing the Bangladesh

H&M revealed that national monitoring committee set up and trained in Bangladesh particularly. Workplace dialogue training is going on in 187 factories covering around 280,000 workers. 219 factories have received rights and responsibility training for managers and workers. 40 factories are currently implementing the Fair Wage method. 3,197 students are in skill development Centre of Excellence. H&M also set up 10 enterprise training programmes (in cooperation with the ILO and Sida).

H&M is currently employing 161,000 employees among whom 75% are women. H&M sustainability report 2016 could be downloaded from this link.

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