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H&M Group Sets 2040 Sustainability Commitment

H&M Group is reducing its carbon footprint with major environmental targets.

The Sweden-based retailer outlined several new goals in its 2016 Sustainability Report, including a pledge to use 100 percent recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030, switch to 100 percent renewable electricity, and establish a climate positive supply chain by 2040. H&M Group also reported good progress with its fair living wage and industrial relations programs that currently benefit garment workers.

“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. This is why we have developed a new strategy aiming to take our sustainability work to the next level,” H&M Group head of sustainability Anna Gedda said. “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.”

Achieve a Climate Positive Supply Chain by 2040

H&M Group aims to make its entire supply chain more sustainable by 2040. To become more climate positive, the H&M Group will focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy and offsetting unavoidable emissions and supporting  technologies that make it possible to absorb greenhouse gases. Initiatives that fall in this target include fostering a climate neutral supply chain for tier 1-2 by 2030 and using 100 percent renewable energy in its own operations.

In 2016, the company used 96 percent renewable energy compared to 78 percent in 2015 and reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 47 percent. In addition to in-house efforts, H&M Group is also a member of the WWF Climate Savers program and will continue to support environmental organizations throughout its sustainability transformation.

Use Only 100 Percent Recycled and Other Sustainable Materials by 2030

To foster a more circular economy, H&M Group plans to use entirely recyclable and sustainably sourced materials in all of its products by 2030. H&M Group is currently the biggest global user of Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton and 100 percent of its sourced down is certified by the Responsible Down Standard. The company is also known for incorporating other eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester and Tencel Lyocell wood pulp fiber, in its apparel collections.

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Last year, 26 percent of H&M Group’s products were manufactured with 100 percent recycled and sustainably sourced materials. In 2016, H&M Group used the recycled polyester equivalent of more than 180 million PET bottles and confirmed that 43 percent of its cotton came from sustainable sources.

H&M Group is also partnering with consumers and research organizations to step up its recycling and reuse commitment.

Since the start of its Garment Collecting initiative in 2013, the H&M Group has collected 39,000 tonnes of textiles from consumers. Last year, consumers contributed 16,000 tonnes of textiles to the initiative. By 2020, H&M Group aims to annually collect 25,000 tonnes of textiles to support a more circular economy in the apparel industry.

H&M Group also teamed up with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Stockholm Resilience Center at Stockholm University to research a new circular system for manufacturing textiles in the future.

Scale Up of Fair Living Wage and Industrial Relations Programs

Improved working conditions and a well-functioning dialogue in factories are additional goals of the H&M Group. To scale up its fair living wage and industrial relations programs, H&M Group is continuing to implement improved wage management systems and worker training at supplier factories.

Eight production companies are currently participating in the program and 140 supplier factories are implementing improved wage management systems for approximately 250,000 workers worldwide. A total of 290 supplier factories are also part of the workplace dialogue programs that span an estimated 370,000 workers.

H&M Group will continue to collaborate with humanitarian organizations, including IndustriALL and the Swedish Trade union IF Metall to further improve the welfare of its garment workers.