Transforming the Fashion Industry

Transforming the Fashion Industry

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H&M(@hm) strives to transform fashion industry & how fashion is made & consumed #BSR #sustainability #fashion
Friday, November 7, 2014 - 8:00am

CONTENT: Press Release

November 7, 2014 /3BL Media/ - H&M’s vision is for all its operations to be run in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Therefore, our sustainability work is an integral part of H&M’s business and an important investment in our customer offering. This was stated by Karl-Johan Persson, CEO at H&M, during a speech at the BSR conference in New York on 6 November.

The theme of the conference this year is transparency and transformation, with a main focus on how an increased transparency can transform companies, consumers and communities. The groundbreaking H&M fair living wage strategy – that has been drawn up in close co-operation with international trade unions, textile suppliers, the ILO and non-profit organisations – shows how the fashion industry is transforming.

Every year the BSR Conference gathers leaders from business, government and civil society to share their visions on sustainable business challenges and opportunities.

In his speech, Karl-Johan Persson, pointed out how H&M with its size and dedication, wants to make a difference. He also highlighted some important prerequisites for a successful sustainability work; to make the sustainability work integrated into the business in every department – from the suppliers to customer relations, to cooperate closely with others to develop and implement new ideas, and to always act with a long-term focus.

– At H&M we want to be more than a spectator of the global developments. We have a responsibility to use our size and influence to do what we can, says Karl-Johan Persson.

To drive change throughout the industry, not just at the H&M suppliers, is important for Karl-Johan Persson – a task that requires a long-term work as well as a great deal of patience. One example of this is the H&M fair living wage strategy, aiming for the suppliers in the production countries to pay a wage that covers the workers’ needs. A strategy launched a year ago and initially tested in three role model factories. The evaluation will start this winter and there are already some positive indications. Karl-Johan Persson stressed that H&M is prepared to pay the prices enabling the suppliers to pay a fair living wage.

H&M’s global garment collecting initiative was also mentioned as one important step towards a reduced use of natural resources. The fact that 95 percent of the garments can be reused or recycled into new yarns was emphasized as well as the fact that this will reduce the use of oil and water in the fashion industry.

– We need to change how fashion is made and consumed, says Karl-Johan Persson.

One way of increasing the transparency in the fashion industry is to work on consumer labelling, making it possible for the customer to compare environmental and social sustainability of products and brands. This is, together with the decision to make the H&M supplier list public, important steps towards an increased transparency and a more sustainable fashion industry.