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Treadler’s Days Are Numbered, H&M Confirms

Pour one out for Treadler, a B2B service that allowed third-party companies to unlock H&M Group’s global supply chain, including its list of Higg-vetted factories, with the goal of surmounting initial business barriers and accelerating sustainability progress.

Treadler’s operations, which began in 2020, will be phased out during the coming months as a result of “developments and uncertainties in the world around us” that forced the retailer to “revise some of our priorities,” an H&M Group spokesperson told Sourcing Journal.

“When evaluating Treadler’s current position, we conclude that it hasn’t been growing fast enough. Given our present and necessary reprioritizations we have taken the decision to discontinue,” the spokesperson said. “This means that the ongoing operations will be phased out during the coming months.”

H&M Group said it’s focusing on supporting the 45-person Treadler team to ensure a “smooth transition” for them whether they stay on with or exit the company, which besides H&M includes the & Other Stories, Arket, Cos, Monki and Weekday brands. Treadler, the spokesperson said, has in a short time “generated valuable learnings” and “established lots of meaningful relationships.”

“Our strong belief in developing the industry together with other companies and external partners remains, and we will continue to build on the important insights and learnings made on the Treadler journey,” the spokesperson added.

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Treadler was pitched as a way to provide the broader fashion industry with some of H&M Group’s core assets and investments, contributing to the retail giant’s own growth while scaling transparency, traceability and sustainability through bespoke product development, sourcing and logistics services. It was one of Helena Helmersson’s first initiatives after she scaled the ranks from veteran sustainability executive to CEO.

The treadle, H&M Group said at the time, is the part of the sewing machine that regulates speed. Similarly, Treadler aimed to “help its clients to accelerate sustainable production in an efficient way.”

At a Sourcing Journal webinar in December, Dov Brachfeld, global sustainability manager at Treadler, said that companies are starting to publish once-proprietary information for the greater good.

“H&M Group has actively invested significant time and resources to bring its supply chain to the level it is today,” he said. “And by offering access to its supply chain and knowledge and experience to other brands, they can support them in accelerating toward more sustainable sourcing from one season to the next. This is the return on investment we’re talking about.”