Climate

The climate crisis poses a major challenge to all industries, including fashion. We take our responsibility to stay within the planetary boundaries very seriously and have an ambitious plan: to become climate positive by 2040. We’re working to halve our emissions every ten years, and have a good plan to reach the 2030 goal.

Reaching the 2030 goal

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Boost energy efficiency
We’re saving energy everywhere in our business. For example, in 2019, air freight emissions were down 36%.

Water

Climate change affects everyone and everything, especially the availability of water, and we’re determined to play our part in relieving water stress. Since 2011, we’ve been working with WWF on a broad improvement plan — reducing our water consumption, reusing it where possible, and improving its quality before returning it to the environment. We have some way to go, but we’re making progress around the world.

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Cleaning up wastewater

Treating wastewater to remove pollution is essential before reusing or releasing it. In the fast-growing Bangladesh apparel and textile industry, we’re working with our suppliers to make sure they have effective wastewater treatment plants. We provide our partners with technical support so they can maximise their investments in treatment technology that meets global standards. Essential for local communities and the environment.

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Protecting water together

It’s by working with others to improve the way water is managed that we’ll help protect water resources needed by industry and communities. For example, we are one of the key business supporters of the 2030 Water Resources Group — a partnership hosted by the World Bank — to find the best ways to sustain groundwater reserves in the Greater Dhaka Area of Bangladesh. By working together with experts and the local community, we are protecting the essential water reserves and the future of our business.

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Materials

We are committed to sourcing materials that pose no threat to people or the planet. Finding sustainable sources is a slow journey but we’re determined to go faster.

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Take cotton. It’s natural, renewable and biodegradable. But conventional farming uses lots of agro-chemicals to keep yields high. Grown without synthetic pesticides, organic cotton is better for people and the environment. But growing organic is not easy − one reason being that organic cotton yields are initially lower. No wonder under 1 % of the world’s cotton is organic. We’re determined to change this.

We’re a founding member of the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA), an organisation working to make organic farming a viable choice for cotton growers. In India, H&M Group and the OCA are working directly with farmers on projects in four states to provide training, access to seeds, premium prices and, most important, guaranteed sales of the organic harvest. And it’s working. We’ve seen amazing growth in the amount of organic cotton sourced from farm projects. Last year we supported 6,854 farmers from OCA’s projects, and expect the number to grow in the future. This will help us meet our goal of 100 % sustainably sourced cotton by 2020.

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“With the support and trainings received we now make many of the bio remedies for organic pest control right here on our farm, saving us money. We have even started selling some to other farmers.”

Gorelal Bansya, farmer.

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Making circularity happen

Innovation keep driving our circularity efforts forward. We are developing new ways to repair, repurpose and recycle goods wherever possible and encouraging our customers to join us on this journey. The new business models we’re creating will help make this happen, as well as the development of new recycling technologies.

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The Take Care initiative

Taking good care of clothes is the best way to prolong their life. As part of its Take Care initiative, H&M offers repair services in selected stores and online markets, making it easier for customers to maintain their much-loved items. A dedicated Take Care page on H&M websites provides additional guidance and a range of products to keep clothes looking their best.

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Closing the fashion loop

Most of our brands offer garment collection points and in 2019, we collected 29,005 tonnes of garments for reusing and recycling — equivalent to about 145 million T-shirts. Since 2013, we have been working with I:CO, a specialist in garment take back solutions. Over half the items collected are reused as second hand, and the rest are repurposed or recycled into new textile fibres or insulation materials. For each kilogram collected, we donate two Euro cents to charity − since 2013 that’s over €1.7 million.

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Tech is in fashion

By investing in companies that develop ground-breaking technologies, we’re making it easier to scale up innovations that the whole industry can benefit from. These innovations are also what will help us un our journey towards becoming a circular company.
For example, Infinited Fiber Company, one of the companies that H&M Group has invested in, is currently perfecting their process to make a new cotton-like fibre from waste textiles. Another cutting-edge investment is in Re:newcell, which turns used cotton and viscose into a pulp that can be turned into new fibres for yarn and fabrics. H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection, launched in March 2020, included a dress made out of Re:newcell fabric.

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Green Machine recycles polycotton

Cracking the code for recycling mixed fabrics like polyester and cotton blends on an industrial scale has long baffled the experts. Until now. The ground-breaking Green Machine — devised by The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), supported by the non-profit H&M Foundation — is showing fashion brands how recycling polycotton can work for them. As part of the Foundation’s mission, the technology is made to share and will be licensed free — helping the whole fashion industry go circular.

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Packaging

Packaging protects our products, preventing damage and waste. We want to make sure that it does just that without becoming waste itself. That’s why by 2030, we will only pack with recycled or sustainably sourced materials. We’re minimising waste and eliminating the plastic wrapping our online orders.

Supported by the creative design consultancy IDEO, we’ve developed a shared solution for all our brands and have tested early, innovative prototypes. This takes us closer to meeting our goal for all our packaging to be designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, while providing our customers with a smarter, more sustainable service.

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Leading the Change

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Circular & Climate Positive

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Fair & Equal

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