H&M sets targets for sustainable cotton and ethical sourcing in latest report

Swedish fashion retailer H&M has published its 2011 Conscious Actions Sustainability Report, marking 10 years of sustainability reporting at H&M. Highlights from the report are: 

  • More than 442 000 workers in Bangladesh have been trained on their rights by H&M since 2008  
  • H&M is the number one user of organic cotton in the world 
  • H&M saved 300m litres of water in denim production compared to 2010 
  • More than 2.3m garments were donated to charitable causes by H&M 

“We want our customers to feel confident everything they buy from H&M is designed, manufactured, and handled with consideration for people and environment. The level of social and environmental responsibility we take, places H&M’s sustainability work at the forefront of the fashion industry globally,” said Karl-Johan Persson, CEO at H&M. 

Helena Helmersson, head of sustainability at H&M, said: “We are proud about the achievements we have made during the year. But we are also aware of the challenges ahead. We strive to be transparent about our progress and the report is an important part of that. There are a number of things that really standout such as our plan to further support social development in one of our most important sourcing markets, Bangladesh, as well as H&M being the biggest user of organic cotton in the world.”

Bangladesh is an important purchasing market for H&M. As a long-term buyer, H&M said it wants to contribute to lasting improvements for people working in the clothing industry. In 2011, H&M developed a plan to support long term social development in Bangladesh. The aim is to ensure the garment industry has a positive impact on the country’s development and to create a stable labour market, not just counting jobs, but also improvements in labour and women’s rights, skills, education and health. 

H&M is the biggest user of organic cotton in the world. By 2020,100% of the cotton will come from more sustainable sources, including Better Cotton, organic cotton and recycled cotton. Also, the first products using Better Cotton have reached H&M stores. Better Cotton allows more cotton to be grown, while reducing water and chemical use, and protecting working conditions. Furthermore, organic hemp, grown without the use of pesticides and with limited use of water, was introduced to the growing range of conscious materials.