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May 5, 2022

H&M Group, Inditex team on regenerative agriculture drive

Swedish fashion retailer H&M Group and Zara-owner Inditex are part of a new public-private-community partnership aimed at promoting regenerative agriculture and sustainable sourcing.

By Fi Forrest

The new multi-stakeholder Compact is part of the Regenerative Production Landscape Collaborative (RPL Collaborative), founded by Laudes Foundation, IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative, and WWF India. The collaborative brings brands, governments, farmers and civil society together to promote regenerative agriculture and sustainable sourcing.

RPL Collaborative has kickstarted the formation of public-private-community partnerships (Compacts) between Inditex, H&M Group, Ikea, Neutral, PepsiCo India, Samunnati, Jayanti Spices, INI Farms, and SV Agri. The multi-stakeholder Compact also includes key-decision makers such as civil society organisations SRIJAN, Action for Social Advancement, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme; and farmer producer organisations.

The first Compact is being formed in Chhindwara District, Madhya Pradesh (MP), which will reach 20,000 farmers, and bring 20,000 hectares under regenerative agricultural practices. The second Compact will cover eight districts in western Madhya Pradesh, including parts of the Narmada Basin to reach 120,000 farmers in the State.

The RPL Collaborative contributes to revitalising soil health, boosting smallholder farmer incomes, improving access to water, enhancing biodiversity, and addressing gender equity through the multi-stakeholder Compacts. Members of a Compact work together to leverage sustainability and social commitments at scale and mobilise financial support for sustainability projects at the landscape level. It allows businesses to source responsibly while creating inclusive supply chain relationships, provides smallholder farmers and communities to thrive through greater participation in decision-making, and lets producers grow agri-commodities using natural and regenerative farming principles that restore natural resources and reduce emissions from farming systems.

“Promoting regenerative agriculture is important for our biodiversity vision to have net positive impact through protection and restoration of natural ecosystems. We want to use our size and scale to create positive change. By collaborating with other stakeholders, we can contribute to increasing sustainable farming practices, benefiting environment and farming community,” says Suhas Khandagale, global material innovation and strategy manager at H&M Group.

Luis Coloma, head of environmental sustainability at Inditex, adds: “Restoring and protecting natural ecosystems is the shared responsibility of us all. The promotion of regenerative agriculture not only brings significant environmental benefits – such as restoring the soil, optimising water management and reducing CO2 emissions – but also helps to improve the living conditions of farmers, their families and broader communities. This is a great example of our hybrid – both social and environmental – approach to sustainability.” 

Highlighting the importance of sustainable sourcing in the collaborative, Daan Wensing, CEO IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative, notes: “The existing state of agricultural production and ecosystem management requires system transformation. We need to make the shift to regenerative agriculture, to make our food and agricultural systems able to adapt to climate change. And at the same time, we need to make sure farmers own enough to invest in their own futures. The private sector can play a huge role in catalysing systems change by sourcing sustainably, investing, bringing its scale, and working together on finding new pathways towards a sustainable future.”

Textile Exchange recently published a report urging the fashion industry to support regenerative agriculture.

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