Chemicals management

Chemicals management

It can take a lot of chemicals to make clothes. However, hazardous chemicals can harm the global environment as well as the health of our customers, employees and workers throughout our value chain. We are therefore working hard to ensure that our products are safe and to eliminate discharges to water, soil and air throughout the life cycle of all our products.

We define hazardous chemicals according an intrinsic property approach and consider properties such as persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and toxicity to reproduction, endocrine disruption and equivalent concerns when assessing the hazards associated with certain substances.

Our chemical restrictions are as a minimum always based on the highest legal standard in any of our sales countries as well as on information from authorities, NGOs and scientific reports. We apply the precautionary principle – meaning that we preventively restrict chemicals even where there is scientific uncertainty. Accordingly, our requirements usually go further than the law demands.

We ban chemicals considered as hazardous for use in the production process and set limit values for finished products through the H&M chemical restrictions (continuously updated since 1995) which all suppliers are contractually bound to comply with. The overall strategy is that chemicals identified as hazardous should neither be used during production nor be detectable in products.

H&M’s chemical management vision is to ensure safe products made in a healthy workplace while protecting the environment. Our main focus is controlling the chemical input in the manufacturing process. We are committed to eliminate the use, and hence achieve zero discharge, of hazardous chemicals in any production procedure by 2020.

Our Sustainability Commitment assessments include a set of requirements concerning the safety of chemical handling and storage as well as environmental requirements such as the treatment of wastewater and the handling of hazardous waste. Read more about environmental requirements for suppliers.

Following a lifecycle approach, we work to limit the use and discharge of hazardous chemicals as well as working on overall environmental practice upstream in our value chain

A lifecycle approach

Following a lifecycle approach, we work to limit the use and discharge of hazardous chemicals as well as working on overall environmental practice upstream in our value chain. This includes improvements in standards in the production of textile fabrics as well as limiting the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides mainly in cotton cultivation and promoting the recycling of raw materials.

Working with others

Working together with regulatory authorities and other brands and engaging with NGOs and consumer organizations is an important part of our efforts to contribute to good chemicals management within the textile industry.

Our commitment to zero discharge

 

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