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How sustainable is H&M ?

H&M & sustainability


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Reasonable, could be better Click here for score rapport: 16 out of 36

Sustainability summary

H&M has received our C-label for sustainability. According to us, H&M is on its way towards sustainability, but more improvement is needed. H&M Group implements several policy measures to reduce the climate emissions of its own operations and in the supply chain. But, the latest climate footprint published presents an increase of total emissions for its own operations. Around 14% of H&M Groups total consumption of raw materials is made from more environmentally friendly materials, such as organic cotton. H&M Group has signed the Detox Commitment to eliminate hazardous chemical groups from its production and received the 'Leader' status from Greenpeace. H&M Group collaborates with several organisation, such as Fair Labor Association, to improve the labor conditions in its supply chain. Thereby the company annually reports about the improvements and problems regarding the labour conditions at its suppliers and publishes a supplier list.

Brand owner: H&M Group
Head office: Stockholm, Sweden
Sector: Retailers
Categories : Male, Female, Kids, Baby
Free Tags: H&M Group, HM, Hennes, H M, H+M, Bags, Caps, Pullover, Shirts, Suits, Jackets, Jeans, Dress, Shoes

What's your sustainability news about H&M?

H&M sustainability score report

Last edited: 21 April 2015 by Lien
Last reviewed: 21 April 2015 by Mario

Questions about Climate Change/ Carbon Emissions

1 out of 7
1. Is there a policy for the brand to minimize, reduce or compensate carbon emissions? H&M Group attempts to reduce its carbon emissions by only using renewable electricity (when available and feasible), increasing energy efficiency in stores, and is also trying to raise awareness for climate change beyond its own operations (see link, pages 68-76). Source
2. Has the brand (company) disclosed the annual absolute carbon footprint of its 'own operations' (Scope 1 & 2) and has the brand already reduced or compensated 10% of these emissions in the last 5 years? H&M Group's total climate footprint of own operations decreased from 356,374 tons of CO2e in 2013 to 341,675 tons of CO2e in 2014. This represents a decrease of around 4% (see link, p. 73). Source
3. Is the efficiency of greenhouse gas emissions below 200 kg CO2-eq per square meter shopping floor per year? H&M Group reports a target of reducing energy use in its stores by 20% by 2020 per m², compared to 2007. In 2014 a reduction of 12% was maintained. However, it is unclear if this is below 200 kg CO-eq per m² shopping floor (see link, page 74). Source
4. Is at least 50% of the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? In 2014 27% of the electricity used in H&Ms own operations came from renewables. At the end of 2015, H&M Group plans to source about 80% of their electricity from renewable sources. However, it is unclear whether these resources are proven to be additional (see link, page 73). Source
5. Does 100% of the electricity that the brand (company) uses for its ‘own operations’ come from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? See remark for carbon emissions policy question 4. Source
6. Has the brand (company) set a target to reduce its absolute ‘own operations’ carbon emissions by at least 20% within the next 5 years? H&M Group reduced their total emissions by 4% compared to 2013, and is working to reduce the emissions further. However, no concrete target values are reported (see link, page 73). Source
7. Does the brand (company) also have a policy to reduce/compensate carbon emissions generated from the product supply chain that is beyond own operations (Scope 3)? In 2010 H&M Group has started its supplier Energy Efficiency Programme. H&M Group doesn't provide tangible results on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (ghg) in the supply chain for 2013, but states to be in the process to develop a method to report on value-chain ghg reductions (see link, pages 70 & 75). Source

Questions about Environmental Policy

7 out of 15
1. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 5% of its volume? In 2014 H&M used more environmentally friendly materials in 14% of its total consumption of raw materials (8.8% organic materials, 0.2% recycled materials, 5% other) (see link, page 14 & 17). Source
2. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 10% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
3. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 25% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
4. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 50% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
5. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 75% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
6. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 90% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
7. Is there a policy for the brand (company) to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures to make the clothes and footwear? In 2011 H&M Group committed to Greenpeace to the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals and makes sure that these restrictions are understood and applied in its supply chain. In this matter, according to Greenpeace, H&M Group is categorized as a "Leader". Source
8. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least one suspect chemical group, such as Phthalates or Per fluorinated chemicals from its entire garment production? According to Greenpeace, H&M has successfully eliminated PFCs from the production of all its garments, effective by January 2013 (see link, page 9). Source
9. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least three suspect chemical groups, such as Phthalates or Per fluorinated chemicals from its entire garment production? H&M does not report whether at least 3 out of 11 suspect chemical groups, such as Phthalates or BFRs can be considered as fully phased-out in the global supply chain already. Source
10. Does the brand (company) have a clear and effective policy to minimize environmental pollution of chromium and other harmful substances from leather tanning processes, e.g. by waste water treatment or by vegetable tanning? According to H&M Group's Manufacturing Restricted Substances List there is a usage ban for Heavy Metals, which includes Chromium (see link, page 11). 46% of H&M's leather used is certified by Leather Working Group. But, the share of Silver or Gold rated tanneries is not specified (see link, page 37 of environmental policy question 6). Source
11. Does the brand (company) have a clear target to phase out PVC in their products, and has the brand already achieved a PVC phase out level of more than 90%? H&M Group reports that according to its Manufacturing Restricted Substances List, PVC is banned in the company's products (see link, page 11). Source
12. Has the brand (company) a clear and effective policy to minimize the use of solvents based chemicals in their shoe production, and has the brand already achieved a level of average max. 40 grams of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoes? H&M Group reports policy measures to replace solvent-based polyurethane (PU) with better alternatives. In 2014, a 24,6% share of shoes were made with mainly water-based glues. But, H&M Group does not make clear, whether the average value of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions is below 30 grams per pair of shoe (see link, page 18). Source
13. Does the brand (company) have clear objectives to minimize the environmental impact of its shipping packaging and carrier bags, by reducing, re-using, recycling and responsible sourcing of packaging materials, and does the brand annually report on these results? H&M Group implements several policy measures to minimize the environmental impact of its consumer packaging, such as ensuring that all regular shopping bags are made from recycled plastic. However, tangible aggregate results reg. its packaging materials footprint are not made public (see link). Source
14. Does the brand (company) have clear objectives to minimize waste, by reducing, re-using and recycling, and does the brand annually report the results? H&M Group implements several policy measures to minimize waste, such as recycling store waste. In 2014, H&M Group has produced around 32,000 tonnes of waste. Its goal for 2014 was to recycle 95% of it, but achieved 91% (see link, page 86). Source
15. Does the brand (company) encourage the return or re-use of garments? H&M Group offers a garment collection system in all H&M stores. In 2013, 3,047 tonnes of no longer garments were collected, In 2014, that number more than doubled to 7,684 tonnes (see link, page 83). Source

Questions about Labour Conditions/ Fair Trade

8 out of 14
1. Does the brand (company) have a supplier Code of Conduct (CoC) which includes the following standards: No forced or slave labor, no child labor, no discrimination of any kind and a safe and hygienic workplace? H & M Group is a member of the Fair Labor Organisation (FLA), but has its own Code of Conduct (Version 2 - published 2010), in which all of these standards are mentioned. Source
2. Does this CoC include at least two of the following workers rights: 1. to have a formally registered employment relationship 2. to have a maximum working week of 48 hours with voluntary and paid overtime of 12 hours maximum 3. to have a sufficient living wage? 1. Yes, formally registered employment relationship; 2. Maximum working week of 48 hours, voluntary paid overtime of 12 hours maximum; 3. "Living wage" is not mentioned (see link, pages 3-4). Source
3. Does this Code of Conduct include the right for workers to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively; and in those situations where these rights are restricted under law, the right to facilitate parallel means of independent and free association and bargaining? Right to freedom of association is required in the CoC (clause 4.1.4), but nothing found about situations in which this right is restricted by law (see link, page 3). Source
4. Does the brand (company) have a clear and effective health and safety policy for the workers in the finishing process of jeans, at least covering the ban on sandblasting? H&M's List of Restricted Chemicals bans sandblasting in the production of its apparel (see link, page 11). Source
5. Does the brand (company) have a published list of direct suppliers, that have collectively contributed to more than 90% of the purchase volume? H&M Group has published a "Global Supplier List" that accounts for about 98.5% of all commercial pieces produced for the H&M Group. This list is effective by 02.03.2015. Source
6. Is the brand (company) a member of a collective initiative that aims to improve labor conditions, or does the brand (company) purchase its supplies from accredited factories with improved labor conditions? Among other initiatives H&M Group is a member of the Fair Labour Association (FLA) and Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) (see link, page 10 & 12). Source
7. Do independent civil society organizations like NGO's and labor unions have a decisive voice in this collective initiative or in these certification schemes? FLA and ETI are acknowledged as a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (see link, page 12). Source
8. Is there a policy for the brand (company) for capacity building at the apparel manufacturers for improved labour practices? Besides auditing H&M Group supports its suppliers to build up management knowledge and capacities and to help them to assess their own performance. In conjunction with its Fair Wage Method H&M Group reports on first results achieved (e.g. Decrease of overtime hours by 43%, due to increase in productivity) (see link, page 44). Source
9. Does the brand (company) annually report on the results of its labor conditions policy? Is at least 90% of the brands production volume from apparel manufacturers monitored for labour conditions? H&M Group conducted 3623 audits of factories in 2014. Thereby, each 1st tier factory was audited 1,5 times on average. As a minimum each 1st tier supplier is audited at least every two years, with up to three follow-up audits in between. H&M Group publishes a detailed audit summary report with follow-up actions (see link, starting on page 29). Source
10. Is at least 25% of the production volume from apparel manufacturers approved as socially compliant by independent third parties, such as FWF, GOTS or SA8000? H&M Group reports a total first tier supplier factories compliance of 67% (see link). However, the percentage share of independent third-party verification is apparently rather small in 2014 (e.g. 15 FLA verifications) (see link of previous question, page 33). Source
11. Is at least 50% of the production volume from apparel manufacturers approved as socially compliant by independent third parties, such as FWF, GOTS or SA8000? See remark for labor conditions policy question 10. Source
12. Does the brand (company) implement a policy to establish the payment of living wages at its apparel manufacturers? Are at least first living wage payments realised? For its strategic suppliers, H&M Group wants to improve pay structures for fair living wages by 2018 at latest. In 2014, H&M Group started to implement its Fair Wage Method in 3 model factories. In one factory, this implementation succeeded. But, results aren't concrete enough. For 2015, the goal is to use this system in 60 factories (see link p. 39-48). Source
13. Does the brand (company) annually report on the results of its labor conditions policy for the fabric manufacturing phases, including a reasonable overview of the number and region of workplaces covered by the policy in relation to the total production volume? In 2014, 35% of H&M Group's fabrics were derived from audited fabric/yarn mills. H&M Group set the goal to increase this to 50% in 2015. However, H&M Group does not provide comprehensive tangible information and results of its labour conditions policy for the fabric manufacturing phases (see link, page 36). Source
14. Are at least 50% of the fabric manufacturing phases - from spinning to final fabric - approved as socially compliant by independent third parties, such as FLO-Cert, GOTS or SA8000? While auditing of fabric manufacturers is being done, it's unclear if at least 50% of the entire fabric manufacturing meet the standards of for instance SA8000 (see link, page 36). Source