Senior Vice President of Development, WWF-Canada
One of the world’s largest fashion brands is leading the change to a more sustainable future and inspiring other brands to follow.
The fashion industry has been battling the problem of sustainability for decades, but leading brands like H&M are taking action to create a cleaner future.
H&M Group first joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2011, with a focus on fresh water — a major sustainability challenge for the planet. The fashion industry is extremely water-intensive, and as one of the largest brands globally, H&M is a major user of water-demanding crop cotton. Through its partnership with the WWF, H&M has been focused on creating solutions for water challenges and inspiring other brands to do the same.
In 2016, the partnership expanded beyond water stewardship to tackle climate change. H&M Group and the WWF began a larger, strategic dialogue on sustainability issues such as circularity, innovative materials, and halting the loss of biodiversity. Since then, H&M Group has been working hard to ensure its sustainability efforts support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Three years ago, the company made an ambitious commitment to become climate-positive across its value chain by 2040.
These targets set by the company are approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. This work earned it a place on CDP’s Climate A List for the second time, which recognizes the group as leader of climate action through transparency.
“When it comes to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss, we can’t go about it alone,” says Kathrin Majic, Senior Vice President of Development at WWF-Canada. “Global companies like H&M have a wide reach across their customers and the supply chain, so when they decide to become sustainable, it makes a huge impact.”
Leading the change toward a more sustainable fashion future
As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing the use of paper bags and encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags, this year H&M began charging customers $0.10 per paper bag.
Proceeds from each bag go toward WWF-Canada’s environmental conservation work, for a total of $100,000. The initiative aligns with H&M’s goal of making all of its packaging reusable, recyclable, and compostable by 2025. The bags are Forest Stewardship Council-certified and made out of 40 percent recycled material.
“Partnerships with brands like H&M are critical to achieving our mission of reversing the decline of wildlife,” says Majic. “When we work together, we can make a real difference.”
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