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Pail Jain, Regional CSR Manager of H&M was presenting their sustainability activities. As per her presentation H&M sustainability efforts are illustrated here.
H&M is one of the largest buyers of clothing providing fashion and quality at the best price worldwide having approximately 2200 stores across 38 countries. This value driven company was found in 1947 which now posses 76,000 employees. Bulks of its products are collected through supply chain having 700 suppliers worldwide. They have certain policies to contribute making the textile world greener and safer. Within their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities, they have a strong code of conduct since 1997 working with social and environmental requirements applicable to all the products, transport and sales in the supply chain and design programs for sustainability. H&M sets the company standards and goals, develop social & environment friendly policies and develop sustainability strategies in the line with company goals. It also monitors total compliance, measure results and publish report. Sustainability is achieved by balancing between profit, planet and people. Not only the company employees but also the customers and the supplier’s employees are taken in account as the term people. It guides the current and future opportunities that the company profit provides.
The impact of sustainability star ts from choice of material to the waste management including processing-production and the environmental impact from process, transport, IT, HR, finance, possibility to recycle and garment care. They are trying to ensure sustainability in their product development and design and also taking part in better cotton initiative (BCI); using recyclable cotton, wool, polyamide and polyester etc. Now they are promoting organic cotton as well. Almost 15000 ton organic cotton was used last year by H&M and sourcing all cotton from sustainable resources by 2020 is their vision. They are working against the child labour under the roof of UNICEF starting from cotton cultivation to garments production. At present an ante-child-labour program is running in Tamil Nadu, India. They spent 4 to 5 million USD last 5 years engaging and educating customers and employees about children’s right in cotton production. They have a strong code of conduct and they sign the code precondition before any business relation. Full audit programs are also running since2005. Audit results integrate the buying decision. Till 2010 there are 2561 audits (59% unannounced). From these audits the main problems came out as overtime, overtime compensation, chemical handling. They are working with the problems to maintain a standard compliance.
H&M Audit focuses on the following things:
The code of conduct requirements, which are:
Audits are done starting from the cotton traders (cotton seed farms, cotton farmers), spinning mill, fabric mill, dyeing mill to the finished garment producers regarding the points given before to select the supplier. So a supplier must have to satisfy those codes of conducts to get H&M orders.
But their sustainability activities are not confined only in auditing. Motivating upstream measures are taken which leads to water usage and resources, like water saving technique in denim washing, cleaner production program and cleaner production tool are the things they are doing along with auditing. At least 30 liters of water have been saved per denim in 2010 by using a special chemical which results to a 50 million liters of water saving.
H&M is running programs for internal and external capacity building and management, collaborating with other brands and organization, awareness raising by example films of workers and also community investments for education, & health among women and children.
An eye is also given to the logistics and distribution. Sustainable transport and clean shipping project for lesser emission of CO2 in air and water, H&M has increased use of train and decreased use of air freights. Minimizing packaging for the products and creating restricted chemical list (250 substances).
CFL’s are used to reduce energy consumption for interior and displaying materials. Hangers reuse is close to 100% in the H&M stores. Thus the company is moving towards increased sustainability and a growth target of 10 to 15% per year.
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