Can fast fashion ever be truly sustainable? H&M is certainly doing its best to prove it can, as the 2014 ‘Conscious Actions’ Sustainability Report was released this week, revealing further plans to drive the business down a more environmentally friendly path.
The highstreet retailer is the world’s leading user of organic cotton, while in the past, its conscious collections and garment recycling schemes have proven hugely popular.
“We want to make the better choice easy
The latest report shows that last year H&M committed to using responsibly sourced down for its bedding and homeware goods, as well as using renewable resources for 80% of its energy. One of the most significant statements is its promise to use only renewable energy by 2015, which would greatly reduce the clothing chain’s carbon footprint and set a standard for other retailers to follow.
A particularly notable achievement is the fact that last year 7,684 tonnes of clothing was collected through H&M’s recycling initiative – enough to make more than 38 million t-shirts, while enough recycled polyester was used to save 40 million PET plastic bottles from landfill.
But sustainable clothing aside, what about the welfare of people? H&M states that it has entered an agreement with the International Labour organisation to strengthen fair negotiations and working conditions for workers within its supply chain.
“we are ultimately nudging our suppliers towards
better performance, bettering lives of the workers
& their communities which in turn supports greater
stability & reliability in our sourcing.”
Whether this is all grand sweeping gestures or a genuine move towards real change, we’ll be keeping a close eye on H&M – as is Clean Clothes Campaign, who have requested the retailer show evidence of their claimed fair living wages. Until then, watch this space…
Read the full report at H&M’s website.