How fashion giant H&M is cleaning up for climate neutrality

H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) is one of the world’s most well know apparel brands.  As a company which employs may thousands of people through the supply chain, especially in the developing world, it has an opportunity to make a significant impact – positive or negative – to the quality of life and environment in the areas where its clothes are made.

Many of its garments are produced in India where access to clean water and sanitation are not always available, especially for the workers at many of its supplier factories.  They teamed up with 15 supplier factories in this area and together with charity WaterAid, have set out to change this for the workers, their families and the surrounding community,promoting access to clean water and sanitation as well as health education. Globally, H&M and the H&M Foundation have set a goal to provide at least 500,000 people with safe water by 2016.

A long partnership with WWF first formed to develop a critical water use strategy between 2013-16 was extended in 2017 into a new ambition to create the first climate neutral fashion brand by 2040 at the latest.  It’s a bold target which means some significant sub goals will need to be met soon.

  • H&M group commits to a climate neutral supply chain for tier 1–2 by 2030.
  • H&M group has a commitment to use 100% renewable energy in its own operations; the share is 96% today compared to 78% in 2015.
  • H&M group will cut energy intensity by 25% per square meter store area by 2030 compared to 2016.
  • In 2016, H&M group reduced its CO2 emissions by 47% compared to 2015. Since 2013 we have decreased by 77%.
  • H&M group is a proud member of the WWF Climate Savers program


Our sustainability priorities are aligned with the SDGs and aim to mobilise efforts to end poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. The SDG Agenda provides a good framework when designing strategies going forward and finding new collaborations.

We contribute to several of the SDGs, for example, through our circular approach and efforts to close the loop on textiles (SDG 12). We are a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 to help accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economy. From a sustainability perspective, this transition is necessary. However, it requires more effective use of resources as well as innovations within recycling and materials. Garment collecting in our stores is one step on our circularity journey, inviting our customers to become part of the solution and help expand the lifespan of garments and increase reuse or recycling of materials. The Global Change Award innovation challenge, initiated by the H&M Foundation in 2015, is another way of speeding up the development. It aims to find new ideas to help close the loop on textiles.

Carl Johan-Persson, CEO H&M Group

Key pillars in H&M’s future strategy will include looking at natural carbon sinks which are nature’s existing mechanisms to absorb greenhouse gases. This could be programs that protect valuable biomass, such as rainforests, or investments in more sustainable agriculture.

Technological carbon sinks are innovations to absorb existing greenhouse gases with the aim to turn them into new products and materials.


H&M supports a wide range of the UN Sustainable Development Goals across its business.

To find our more about H&M’s support for the Global Goals, have look at their CEO’s message, and their sustainability strategy.

By | 2018-02-25T19:52:41+00:00 February 25th, 2018|SDG Case Studies|0 Comments

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