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H&M Rolls Out Its Largest Product-Transparency Effort Yet

H&M is all about layers this season—“transparency layers,” that is.

The Swedish retailer announced Tuesday that it will providing product-transparency details for all garments and most H&M Home interior products sold on, including “production country, supplier names, factory names and addresses, as well as the number of workers in the factories.” Customers will also be able to learn more about the materials used to make a certain item.

“We are so proud to be the first global fashion retailer of our size and scale to launch this level of product transparency,” Isak Roth, head of sustainability at H&M, said in a statement. “By being open and transparent about where our products are made, we hope to set the bar for our industry and encourage customers to make more sustainable choices.”

Previously available only with Conscious Exclusive items, the transparency layer is now in almost-universal effect across all of H&M’s 47 online markets. Customers browsing in physical stores can also access this information by using the H&M app to scan the price tag on any piece of clothing.

Sharing this extended information is a way to help customers make “more informed choices” about the products they buy, Roth said, noting that H&M was the first global fashion retailer to publish its supplier lists online in 2013.

“With transparency comes responsibility, making transparency such an important factor to help create a more sustainable fashion industry,” he added.

And its efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. H&M scored 61 percent out of a possible 250 points in Fashion Revolution’s latest Fashion Transparency Index, which the fashion advocacy group published Tuesday. The retailer trailed behind Adidas, Reebok and Patagonia, which each garnered 64 percent, and Esprit, which received 62 percent.

While no major brands scored above 70 percent, this iteration of the index was the first since its inception to rate any company above 60 percent. In 2017, the threshold was 50 percent, meaning there are at least signs of improvement.

“At the highest score of 64 percent this year, it shows that even leading brands and retailers still have significant room for improvement when it comes to sharing their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts with their customers and stakeholders,” the report’s authors noted.“The good news is that more brands and retailers are disclosing their suppliers than they were three years ago.”