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.
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