Executive Summary: H&M Conscious Actions and Sustainability Report 2011

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H&M Conscious Actions and Sustainability Report 2011:
Executive Summary
This report was completed to focus on multi-national retail company, H&M, and their quest for producing high-quality production while aiming to achieve sustainability and environmentally conscious goals. H&M is valued for their quality fashion while still providing affordability to consumers. They partake business in 43 different countries on 4 separate continents and have about 8.7 million Facebook fans as of 2011. With such widespread recognition and success internationally, H&M serves as a leading example for competing retailers to follow. H&M has made it their mission to provide consumers with the best products by engaging in conscious actions, or better known as “H&M Conscious”. CEO, Karl-Johan Persson, further explains this concept by stating that, “Our vision is clear: All our operations should be run in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable”. H&M Conscious consists of a 7-step strategy to: (1) provide fashion for conscious customers, (2) choose and reward responsible partners, (3) be ethical, (4) be climate smart, (5) reduce, reuse, and recycle, (6) use natural resources responsibly, and (7) strengthen communities. H&M not only aims to deliver quality, but to also address their consumers’ increased involvement in being ecologically and socially responsible. They have united with labeling system, Ginetex, in order to accompany garments with tags that explain climate-safe techniques to washing clothes. Following these suggested garment-care procedures can save up to 50% of energy usage. Organic cotton was introduced to the brand in 2004 in order to reduce negative environmental impact and to improve farmers’ conditions. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) conducted studies that showed how organic cotton reduces pesticide usage by 32-81%, saves water by 32-49% and increases net profit for farmers by 15-20%. H&M is now the leading provider in organic cotton and their usage has grown 130% compared to only 39% within the world market. Target goals for only using organic cotton across the board is projected to occur by 2020. Tackling global waste is another key issue H&M recognizes and has taken action in. Retail stores now carry shopping bags made from recycled plastic that have been proven to cut CO2 emissions by 34% compared to production of conventional plastic. Global clothing collection and recycling program, iCollect, was initiated in 2011 to better dispose of customers’ unwanted garments. Through this program, recycled materials accounted for the production of a substantial portion of garments offered in stores. All unused and unsold garments are donated to charity, with a 2.3 million cumulative garment donation made in 2011. For the sake of tackling environmental issues in every way possible, H&M has implemented improved technology for tracking energy and resource utilization as well as alternative approaches in transporting goods more efficiently. H&M’s Sustainability Team is 20 members strong and has been developing global targets along the way. The new system was adopted in 2011 and has aided in successfully identifying a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which still remains a minimum reduction goal to be achieved annually. Air transporting of goods was reduced by 32% to offset GHG emissions and gave opportunity for transporting via sea and rail. Reusable boxes have been used to transport goods to-and-from stores and have generated savings in over 400,000 trees from being cut down. LED lights have been installed in newly built and renovated retail stores in order to reduce energy consumption by 75%. Investments in alternative forms of energy, such as solar panels, have been made to progress toward the target for increased renewable energy. Alongside keeping the environment in mind, practicing safety and the use of natural resources responsibly is a...
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