Requirements for suppliers

Environmental requirements for suppliers

We set high standards for ourselves in terms of environmental responsibility and we expect our business partners to adopt equally high standards.

Sustainability Commitment sets environmental requirements

The environmental requirements in H&M's Sustainability Commitment demand that our suppliers comply with the relevant legislation in the countries where they operate. H&M also encourages suppliers to assume greater responsibility for the environment than is strictly required by the law. When we audit facilities to verify compliance with local environmental law and our Sustainability Commitment, we focus on four main areas: environmental law and governmental permits, chemicals, wastewater treatment and waste management.

We begin by reviewing factories’ permits. We also examine how chemicals are handled. The focus is on workers’ safety and on chemical discharges to water and into the ground. To evaluate this, we check whether and how chemical containers are labelled, and whether there are Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). We also check whether the MSDSs have been implemented, i.e. if workers have been trained in safe chemical handling, and if they use protective equipment. We require that factories with wet processes such as dyeing or washing use wastewater treatment plants. The sludge that the plants produce must be dealt with in accordance with the relevant legislation. Finally, we check whether the factories handle hazardous waste in a responsible manner and send it to an authorised company.

Restriction of chemicals

We are working hard to limit and eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in order to ensure that our products are safe and to limit discharges to water, soil and air throughout the life cycle of all of our products.

We ban or limit chemicals considered as hazardous in the production of all our products by means of the H&M chemical restrictions list which all our suppliers must comply with. We define hazardous chemicals according to an intrinsic property approach and we consider properties such as persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and toxicity to reproduction, endocrine disruption and equivalent concerns when assessing the risks 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. As stated in our Sustainability policy, 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.

Our chemical restrictions list is updated continiously, and it now contains more than 360 restricted substances. We inform all our suppliers in advance of any update and provide support in order to ensure their ability to comply with enforced restrictions.

To ensure compliance with our chemical restrictions we perform regular tests, mainly in third party laboratories. In 2015, we conducted around 40,000 such tests. Test procedures follow a risk assessment that is based on factors such as the type of product and production location.

We also conduct dedicated chemical audits at our supplier factories, work with others to promote better practice throughout our industry and have developed a set of programmes to contribute to improvements upstream in our value chain. Read more under chemicals management.

Environmental requirements for IT suppliers

In order to be able to make environmentally sound choices when purchasing IT products, H&M requires that all products offered to us are accompanied by an IT Eco Declaration. The IT Eco Declaration is a system for declaration of environmental aspects of IT and telecom products, developed by the Nordic IT organisations, IT-Företagen in Sweden, ITB in Denmark, IKT-Norge in Norway and TTK ry in Finland. The IT Eco Declaration includes information on the environmental practices of the manufacturer as well as on the environmental performance of their products. Nemko Group, a Norwegian firm that offers testing, inspection and certification services, randomly selects and examines 25 percent of all companies that submit IT Eco Declarations to verify that the information is accurate.

H&M has developed an evaluation model to assess the information in the IT Eco Declarations. Our evaluation model takes into account legal standards as well as additional H&M requirements.

Environmental requirements for suppliers of store equipment and furnishings

H&M has drawn up environmental guidelines for purchasing store equipment and furnishings. Materials such as PVC and halogen-based plastic materials, metals such as lead and chrome and chemicals such as brominated flame retardants should be avoided in the manufacture of store equipment and in the finished products. In addition, there are some fields of application where we have banned the use of certain materials, metals and chemicals. There are guidelines on first choice materials, metals and chemicals that should be used instead in order to obtain more environmentally sound products.

We also encourage the use of new technologies that can reduce negative environmental impacts from both the construction and the operation of H&M stores and other premises. In addition, we require mixer taps in washrooms, kitchens and toilets to be fitted with water-saving devices. All stores should also have adequate space for waste management and separation.

Chemicals Management

From ban of PFCs to our engagement in the road to Zero Discharge of Hazardeous Chemicals

Conscious Actions

Get the full overview of our Conscious Actions, Chemicals Management Water Stewardship strategy etc.

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