Our world sustains and inspires us to create incredible things. But today, our environment and our society are facing some serious challenges. The rise in global temperatures is already affecting our climate, and the world needs to stay well below a 2°C increase to avoid increasingly damaging outcomes. According to the World Bank,
we will soon face a global shortage of vital resources. For example, there is a projected 40% gap between water supply and demand by 2030,* and we are losing about 130,000 square kilometres – equivalent to 48 football fields every minute – of forest every year.** Our global society is also facing serious challenges. Many people are already living in extreme poverty, and issues such as forced labour and discrimination prevent millions of people from living a good life.
These challenges are compounded by the size and growth of the world’s population, which is set to increase from seven billion people today to about eight and a half billion by 2030*** – five billion of whom are predicted to move into the middle class.**** This growth and demographic shift will drive massive, unprecedented changes across our society and industry. By preparing to meet this change in a sustainable way, businesses have an opportunity to flourish and create job opportunities for people around the world.
We believe that our industry needs to increase the pace of change in addressing these global environmental and social issues. The size, scale and global reach of the H&M group means we have a responsibility – and an opportunity – to create this acceleration and facilitate the right collaborations for success. We believe in moving the whole market forward, for our own business and for other businesses that share our values. Built on lessons learned from our Conscious Commitments, our new strategy will guide us in the next exciting phase of our journey towards real, sustainable fashion. It is built on our vision to use our size and scale to lead the change towards circular and renewable fashion while being a fair and equal company. This vision is built on three ambitions:
100% LEADING THE CHANGE
– Promote and scale innovation
– Drive transparency
– Reward sustainable actions
100% CIRCULAR & RENEWABLE
– A circular approach to how products are made and used
– Use only recycled or sustainably-sourced materials
– Use only renewable energy in our value chain
100% FAIR & EQUAL
– Fair jobs for all
– Stewards for diversity and inclusiveness
Our commitment to 100% Leading the change will drive and accelerate our impact as we seek to fulfil our vision. To us, it is an ambition that can help set new standards, find innovative solutions and discover new ways of engaging our stakeholders to create a truly sustainable fashion industry. Of course, it is important to recognise the business case that our vision represents.
Adopting a 100% Circular & Renewable approach to making and using fashion is an essential step to helping our business continue to thrive for the next decades and beyond. It’s not just important, but a prerequisite for our growth and future success, just as it is for every other fashion brand.
When it comes to striving for 100% Fair & Equal, we want our business to benefit everyone it connects with, from empowering our customers to express their personality through fashion – wherever they are in the world – to the millions of people who work across our value chain. By building stronger, more rewarding connections with our customers, employees and suppliers, our business will benefit in many different ways.
Our new vision sets a high bar. Ultimately, it will help us create sustained and balanced growth that meets demand while also helping to improve our environment and society. However, although this vision is essential to the future of our business, we don’t yet have all of the solutions in place for achieving our goals, many of which are breaking new ground. We know there is a significant journey ahead of us, but our vision gives us clear long-term focus and direction and provides the motivation we will need to succeed.
Our strategy will allow us to fulfil our vision and take our sustainability work to the next level.
The H&M group has come a long way since our first sustainability strategy in 2009. In 2016, we reported on our seven Conscious Commitments for the last time. This year, we have started reporting on our new vision and strategy.
We have developed our new strategy in partnership with internal and external stakeholders and experts from across our value chain. We mapped and prioritised our human rights risks, and identified how we could leverage positive change by addressing these risks. And we used an inclusive and science-based process. Working with our partners, we defined our ambition areas as 100% Leading the change, 100% Circular & Renewable and 100% Fair & Equal. Each area is covered in an individual chapter in this report.
That said ‘100%’ is not an exact goal – it demonstrates the scale of our ambition and our commitment to change, and creates a clear long-term direction and momentum at H&M group and across our industry that will lead to the best possible results.
At the heart of our sustainability work is our Change-Making Programme, which makes our strategy come to life. By bringing together all of the component parts of our strategy, including our goals, roadmaps, standards and methods, it integrates sustainability into every part of our business. The Change-Making Programme is described in more depth on page 17.
Underpinning all of this is our ongoing commitment to engage changemakers – the people from across our value chain who turn goals and ambitions into action and achievements. There is simply no way we will fulfil our vision without their help.
****According to the OECD (using their $10-100 benchmark), the global middle class will reach nearly five billion by 2030, out of a world population of eight billion. See: https://www.oecd.org/dev/44457738.pdf