SWEDEN: H&M commits to sustainable cotton by 2020
Fashion retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz has reiterated its commitment to buying 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2020.
The company confirmed the pledge today (12 March), as it released its 2011 sustainability report. These more sustainable cotton sources will include Better Cotton, organic cotton and recycled cotton.
The first products using Better Cotton, a scheme which allows more cotton to be grown while reducing water and chemical use, reached the stores during the year. Organic hemp, which is grown without pesticides and uses limited amounts of water, was also introduced to the growing range of "Conscious" materials.
The retailer is also working to contribute "lasting improvements for people working in the clothing industry" in Bangladesh, after developing a plan last year to support long term social development there. The aim is to ensure the garment industry has a positive impact on the country's development and to create a stable labour market, not just counting jobs, but improving labour and women's rights, skills, education and health.
"We are proud about the achievements we have made during the year," said H&M head of sustainability, Helena Helmersson.
"But we are also aware of the challenges ahead. We strive to be transparent about our progress and the report is an important part of that.
"There are a number of things that really stand out, such as our plan to further support social development in one of our most important sourcing markets, Bangladesh, as well as H&M being the biggest user of organic cotton in the world."
Highlights of the report include: more than 442,000 workers in Bangladesh have been trained by H&M on their rights since 2008; it saved 330m litres of water in denim production compared to 2010; and more than 2.3m garments were donated to charitable causes.
The retailer today launched a range of red-carpet looks as part of its Conscious initiative. The range uses organic cotton and hemp, as well as recycled polyester.
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