Whether it be a greenwashing tactic to attract millennial consumers driven by the marketing appeal of sustainability or if it is a genuine effort to transition into ethical practices, H&M has recently launched their 2019 Conscious Exclusive Collection in correlation with their 17th Sustainability Report.
The Swedish Fast Fashion giant is no stranger to using eco-friendly campaigns as an initiative to drive traffic and sales. The company has a “Recycle Your Clothes” Initiative as well claiming massive efforts in sourcing materials such as organic cotton.
On April 11, 2019, H&M announced a radical introduction of transparency to consumers, “for each of our garments, we now share details such as production country, supplier names, factory names and addresses as well as the number of workers in the factories”. In addition to revealing where each garment is made, H&M has also announced that they intend to source 100% from recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030.
However, H&M’s initiatives are faced with skepticism, as many fast fashion companies are notorious for greenwashing. According to The Fashion Law, “Greenwashing is the promotion of green-based environmental initiatives or images without the implementation of business practices that actually minimize environmental impact or any of the other negative effects of fast fashion. This often includes misleading customers about the actual benefits of a product or practice through misleading advertising and/or unsubstantiated claims.”
Many also note that while H&M’s transparency reveal the company’s sourcing through vertically integrated assets, it does not address sub-contractors such as textile or embellishment manufacturers – ultimately dismissing a great deal of H&M’s supply chain.
Authentic or not, H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection pushes the conversation of sustainability in fashion to a greater and more public audience where smaller brands or boutiques lack the accessibility to do so. It also encourages other brands to become transparent about where and who makes these clothes.
Want to stay up to date on the strides being made towards a more ethical fashion industry? Read our earlier news posts including: Penny Tax Threatens Fast Fashion and Promotes Sustainability.