On January 23, 2014, H&M Clothes was ranked number 64 on the Global 100 annual list of the most sustainable companies in the world. The company's mission is to make more sustainable affordable and desirable fashion choices available to as many people as they as they can. They call this work H&M Conscious.
Companies are scored on 12 key performance indicators ranging from energy and water use, to employee compensation and corporate tax strategy. Those listed in the index are the "top overall sustainability performers in their respective sector."
Some of H&M's green efforts include being energy-efficient and inspiring others to reduce total carbon dioxide emissions, aiming for zero waste going to landfills, conserving water, soil, air and species, working with partners who share their values, and contributing to community development at their operation locations.
The seven commitments of H&M Conscious are:
"Provide fashion for conscious customers
Choose and reward responsible partners
Be climate smart
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Use natural resources responsibly
To reduce waste they avoid unnecessary material use and employ reuse and recycle methods that also decrease the virgin material use for less environmental impact while saving money. They track manufacturing waste, transport and product packaging, shopping bags and waste from building new stores.
They offer Garment Collecting where customers bring in unwanted clothing, any brand or condition, to H&M stores in 53 markets. Some of the garments are sold worldwide as second-hand clothing, some that can not be worn again are converted into products like cleaning cloths, and the textile fibers in the rest are turned into yarn or used to manufacture products like auto industry insulating materials.
Their standard plastic consumer bags are now made of half post-consumer and half pre-consumer recycled polyethylene (PE). They come in five different sizes and employees are trained to use the smallest one possible to minimize plastic use. They also sell reusable textile bags in the stores as an alternative to the plastic.
All store, warehouse and office employees are taught to use the H&M Waste and Recycling Guide. Standard requirements for suppliers in all countries for store construction and store fittings list materials which can and cannot be used based on environmental and health effects. Their Environmental Guidelines for product packaging cover the entire chain from selecting raw materials to production and end-of-life, including using keeping it to a minimum, FSC-certified paper and wood, making easy to separate packaging for recyling or reuse, using recycled materials and avoiding laminates and stickers.
The H&M Conscious Foundation is supporting UNICEF, WaterAid and Care by pledging SEK 180 million (US $27,838,800) over three-years beginning February 2014. These organizations, committed to improving education, clean water and strengthening women which all came out of the UN Millennium Development Goals, were selected by H&M employees and customers through global online voting in October 2013.
Watch the attached video about H&M Clothes. Read the 11th H&M sustainability report, Conscious Actions Sustainability Report 2012 , of the Conscious Actions they took or made progress towards during 2012. The report for year 2013 is not out yet.
Watch the video of Lady Gaga doing the H&M grand opening of a new store in Times Square in New York City.