11 Things We Learned from H&M’s 2011 Sustainability Report


To its credit, H&M doesn’t paint a perfect picture. It wasn’t so long ago that the fashion chain was raked over the coals for destroying perfectly serviceable clothing, participating in an alleged “organic cotton fraud,” mass faintings at a factory in Cambodia, and dumping hormone-disrupting chemicals into China’s waterways.

It wasn’t so long ago that H&M was raked over the coals for destroying perfectly serviceable clothing and dumping toxic chemicals into China’s waterways.

“We are proud about the achievements we have made during the year, but we are also aware of the challenges ahead,” says Helmersson, the company’s sustainability chief. “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 stand out, 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.”

Certainly, the milestones it has accomplished are impressive. H&M is already the largest buyer of organic cotton in the world. By 2020, 100 percent of H&M’s cotton will come from more sustainable sources, including Better Cotton, organic cotton, and recycled cotton. Its first products using Better Cotton, which reduces water and chemical use while protecting working conditions, has already reached stores, the company adds.

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

Is the fashion behemoth in earnest? Or skirting the real issue? We’ll leave it up to you to decide, dear reader.

+ 2011 Sustainability Report

+ H&M



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One Response to “11 Things We Learned from H&M’s 2011 Sustainability Report”

  1. buddhajeans says:

    Hi and thanks for a good, I have done some research on both Nike, Levi’s and H&M sustainability reports in post about preffered choice of cotton fabrics. Sustainable fashion design was by my team key message when prfesented mega trend 2000 and beyond when. I was head of all trend research Levis Europe Middle East &Africa. Coming back to the report I am sure they mean well, but remember a company have shareholders, the shareholders go where they can make the best ROI. its naive to think that they will be so kind to let the profit go down. Everyone use this as marketing and PR tool and why should companies have this urge to tell about it? Let me quote from the post What should be the preferred cotton fabrics of large fashion companies?
    “take for example H&M; almost 2,600 stores spread across 44 markets. The expansion strategy and the growth target are to increase the number of stores by 10–15 percent per year with continued high profitability and at the same time increase sales in comparable units. Planned for 2012 are 275 new stores. However, the CEO posts in Conscious Actions Sustainability report a mixed message of sustainability with business growth rate. Is he trying to defend the growth rate with sustainability? He says; further emphasis on quality, sustainability and continued high profitability. Everybody knows that sustainable design, organic fabrics and bigger investment in Eco responsibility increase product price. It seems to be mismatch and false promises” If you like to read more and look at the statistic materials and diagrams please og to http://wp.me/p1UV8C-2wA. I guess we are all sitting in a glasshouse but honesty is also apart of a Eco thinking

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