H&M Ushering in More Transparent Front

H+M Storefront

If you’re anything like us, and well, most fashion forward 20-somethings we know, a good portion of your wardrobe probably comes from H&M. It’s hard to argue with on trend prints and cuts that won’t wipe out your savings in one swipe of the Visa, and with the recent release of H&M’s annual sustainability report, clothes that are easy on the conscience as well. While we’re sure to read everything with a skeptical eye, between these numbers, a new water partnership with WWF and good marks from watchdog groups focused on international labor rights, we’re saying hats off to the global fast fashion mecca.

Highlights from the report include the public release of H&M’s supplier factory list and the launch of their new system to collect old clothes and give them new life – making H&M one of the first fashion retailers of their size to do either. Sustainability has been a particularly big focus of the company’s for some time now. Efforts have included reducing electricity use in their stores, and adopting new techniques to reduce water usage during the production of denim and other water-intense clothing, saving 450 million liters of water just last year. The retailer also happens to be the biggest user of certified organic cotton in the world, 11.4% of all H&M’s clothing is made from organic cotton. In addition, they are a leading member of the Better Cotton Initiative, through which they have helped train nearly 150,000 farmers in better cotton techniques.
Other numbers we’re loving? 74% of all H&M managers are women, as well as 50% of their board members. Is it just us, or does that give you the feminist warm & fuzzies too?
H&M has certainly experienced their fair share of controversy in recent history, but these initiatives toward creating a more transparent and sustainable fashion industry definitely show a step in the right direction. As consumers, it can be difficult to grapple with what we know we want and what we know is right. It certainly is a breath of fresh air when our favorite brands make an effort to appeal to our fashion sense, and our common sense.
By Kristina Wolfmeyer
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1 Comment

  • Reply April 3, 2013


    great article! i do wish more of their specialized collections came to DC though…like the conscious collection hitting stores tomorrow (especially that green tutu dress)