H&M will “gradually” take steps toward its goal as part of its vision to become fully circular

H&M will “gradually” take steps toward its goal as part of its vision to become fully circular

Swedish fashion group Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has pledged to use only recycled or other sustainably sourced materials in all its products by 2030, and to scale-up its industrial relations and fair living wage programmes.

The commitments are included in its latest Sustainability Report 2016, which outlines a number of new goals such as switching to 100% renewable electricity.

While H&M said it used 26% recycled or other sustainably sourced materials in its products in 2016, its vision is to become fully circular by 2030.

The retailer also claims to be the biggest user of cotton certified by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and responsibly sourced down. In 2016, 43% of H&M's total cotton use came from sustainable sources, and the goal is to use only such cotton by 2020.

H&M is also one of the biggest users of organic cotton, recycled polyester and Tencel Lyocell.

In a bid to push the development forward, H&M has initiated a research project with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University to find out what a circular system for producing and using textiles, which is less dependent on scarce natural resources, would look like.

"We want to use our size and scale to lead the change towards circular and renewable fashion while making our company even more fair and equal," explains Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M. "This is why we have developed a new strategy aiming to take our sustainability work to the next level. 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."

Meanwhile, the company also aims to become climate positive throughout its entire value chain by 2040, and will work to reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than its value chain emits.

According to the report, as part of its bid to become climate positive, H&M focuses on energy efficiency, renewable energy and to address "unavoidable emissions" through activities strengthening the planets ability to recover and resist climate change. It also supports technological innovations making it possible to absorb greenhouse gases.

In 2016, the H&M group reduced its CO2 emissions by 47% compared to 2015.

Meanwhile, the retailer will continue to drive its "ambitious" recycling and reuse plan. Since the start of the global Garment Collecting initiative in 2013, H&M has collected 39,000 tonnes of unwanted textiles. By 2020 the company aims to collect at least 25,000 tonnes of textiles every year.

Finally, the retailer will continue to scale-up its industrial relations and fair living wage programs, and says its work to implement improved wage management systems at supplier factories continues with "good progress".

The company adds 140 supplier factories are now implementing improved wage management systems covering around 250,000 workers, while  290 supplier factories are now part of the workplace dialogue programs covering around 370,000 workers.

These programmes are being implemented in eight production countries.

Last month, H&M said it is to encourage its suppliers to pay workers through mobile money, or other digital forms, as part of a United Nations (UN) initiative.

H&M encourages suppliers to pay workers digitally

The retailer is also planning to launch a new brand in the UK later this year.

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