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H&M Group Taps New Sustainability Head

H&M Group announced Friday the appointment of Leyla Ertur as its next head of sustainability.

Ertur will step into her new role Jan. 1, taking over from Anna Gedda, who has led the company’s sustainability initiatives since 2014. Gedda will take on a new role as head of steering and strategic planning at H&M Group.

“Leyla’s vast experience working in our production countries, combined with her leadership skills, make her ideally suited to carry on the fantastic work Anna and her team have done over the past six years,” Helena Helmersson, CEO H&M Group, said in a statement. “I’m excited about what she will bring to the role as we continue pushing the boundaries within sustainability, driving the agenda both at H&M Group and for the industry.”

Leyla joined fast-fashion company in 2000 and has since worked on multiple continents, leading teams in human resources, production and global supply chain management. She has worked “extensively” in the production countries where H&M operates and most recently held a duel position as regional country manager production, Europe and head of global quality strategy and compliance.

“My passion for the industry is as strong now as it was when I was lucky enough to join the company 20 years ago,” Ertur said in a statement. “To have the opportunity to take on this exciting role is a privilege. Sustainability is at the core of everything we do and I can’t wait to contribute to our ongoing and ground-breaking work.”

When sharing the Swedish giant’s most recent quarterly earnings, Helmersson addressed the growing consumer desire for eco-conscious products. “Demand for good value, sustainable products is expected to grow in the wake of the pandemic and our customer offering is well positioned for this,” she said. “We are now accelerating our transformation work so that we continue to add value for our customers.”

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In order to prove its sustainable ethos, H&M has gone further than most to be as transparent as it can. The 2020 Fashion Transparency Index, published in April by grassroots group Fashion Revolution, gave H&M its highest score of 73 percent based on social and environmental metrics such as animal welfare, biodiversity, chemicals, climate, due diligence, supplier disclosure and working conditions.

H&M plans to work toward further transparency in the future, including mapping all of its viscose and manmade cellulosic fiber suppliers by the end of 2020 and publishing 100 percent of its fabric dyeing and printing partners by 2021. It also recently launched the Looop garment-to-garment recycling innovation that lets consumers pay a small fee to transform old, unwanted cotton or wool clothing into new fashion.