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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: 17 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. Brand owner H&M Group implements several policy measures to reduce the climate emissions of its own operations and in the supply chain. Around 20% 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 organisations, such as Ethical Trading Initiative, 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: 29 June 2016 by Duc Ha
Last reviewed: 29 June 2016 by Mario

Questions about Climate Change/ Carbon Emissions

2 out of 7
1. Is there a policy for the brand to minimize, reduce or compensate carbon emissions? H&M Group implements several measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as using renewable electricity, increasing energy efficiency in stores, and is also trying to raise awareness for climate change beyond its own operations (see link, pages 75-85). 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 (brand owner of H&M) total climate footprint of own operations (Scope 1-3) decreased from 666,469 tons of CO2e in 2014 to 480,223 tons of CO2e in 2015. This represents an decrease of around 28% (see link, pages 81 & 84). 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 2015 a reduction of 8% was maintained. However, it is unclear if this is below 200 kg CO-eq per m² shopping floor (see link, page 82). Source
4. Is at least 50% of the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? For 2015, H&M Group reports to have used 78% renewable energy on total electricity consumption. This was purchased by REC certificates in North America and GO certificates in Europe where available. But, sources of supply, type of energy and additionality are not specified (see link, page 80). 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 does not communicate information on total target reductions for its climate footprint of own operations. 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 2015, H&M Group has started its “Sustainable Impact Partnership Programme”. But, H&M Group does not provide concrete results on reducing climate emissions in the supply chain, but states to be in the process to develop a method to report on value-chain emission reductions (see link, pages 77, 83-85). 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 2015, 20% more environmentally friendly materials were used in H&M Group's brand products (9% organic materials, 1% recycled materials, 10% other). But, a share per material type for H&M is not specified (see link, page 14-18). 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 Group 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 Group 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 (see link, page 110). 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 the use of Heavy Metals is restricted, which includes Chromium (see link, page 19). 15.4% of H&M Group's leather used is certified by Leather Working Group. But, the share of Silver or Gold rated tanneries is not specified (see link at previous question, page 42). 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 10). 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 implements measures to replace solvent-based polyurethane (PU) with better alternatives. In 2015, a 24,1% 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 19 & 20). 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 measures to minimize the environmental impact of its consumer packaging, such as ensuring that all regular shopping bags are made from recycled plastic. But, concrete aggregate results regarding its consumer packaging materials footprint are not made public (see link, page 86). 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 measures to minimize waste, such as recycling store waste. In 2015, H&M Group has produced around 50,000 tonnes of waste (increase by 4,000 tones compared to 2014). Its goal for 2015 was to recycle 95% of it, but achieved 94% (see link, page 95). 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 2014, 7,684 tonnes of no longer garments were collected, In 2015, that number increased by more than 60% to 12,341 tonnes (see link, page 87). 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? All these standards are mentioned in H&M Group's Code of Conduct (see link, page 3-5). 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. Yes, wages should always be enough to meet the basic needs of employees and their families, and provide some discretionary income (see link, pages 3-5). 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? This right is mentioned, with reference to parallel means for the situation of law restrictions (see link, page 4). 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 Group has publicly announced a ban on sandblasting, effective by 2012. 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. 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? H&M Group is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) (see link, page 10 & 41). 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? ETI is acknowledged as a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative. Source
8. Is there a policy for the brand (company) for capacity building at the apparel manufacturers for improved labour practices? In the course of its “Fair Wage Method” H&M Group implements measures at 3 model factories in Cambodia and Bangladesh which aim to improve productivity too. But, reporting on respective measures implemented and results realized (improved labour conditions because of improved production processes / quality) is not clear enough specified (see link, page 47). 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 3980 audits of factories in 2015. Thereby, each active 1st tier factory was audited 1,4 times on average. H&M Group publishes a detailed audit summary report with follow-up actions (see link, starting on page 29, and see link next question). 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 first tier supplier factories compliance of 63-100% depending of the category (see link). However, the percentage share of independent third-party verification is apparently rather small in 2014 (e.g. 14 FLA verifications) (see link of previous question, page 35). 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 has formulated the goal to improve pay structures for “fair living wages” by 2018 at latest. For the time being results provided regarding actual living wage payments are not concrete enough. For 2016, the goal is to implement “Fair Wage Method” in further 78 factories (see link, pages 44-50). 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 2015, 51% of H&M Group's fabrics were derived from audited fabric/yarn mills. H&M Group set the goal to increase this to 60% in 2016. But, reporting on results of its labour conditions policy on fabric manufacturing stages is not specific enough (see link, page 41). 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? See remark for labor conditions policy question 13. Source