Here’s our exclusive interview with H&M’s Head of Sustainability, Anna Gedda
1. Many commercial brands have not even begun discussing the issue of sustainability. How did the idea of having this initiative come to mind?
The first Conscious Exclusive collection was launched six years ago. We are committed to show that sustainable fashion has a place on the red carpet as well as making it part of the standard offering in our stores. However we have been working with sustainable materials since the end of the 90’s when we first introduced products made from organic cotton. We have recently set a new goal to only use recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030.
2. H&M is the leading brand when it comes to affordable sustainable fashion. How does this initiative impact the fashion industry?
Since we have the size and the scale to influence and lead change, we are constantly on the lookout for innovative materials and processes that can make our products more sustainable. Together, we can make a difference by making conscious choices in each step of the garment’s life – from cotton farms to customers. We are involved in a number of different initiatives on the industry level such as the SAC, where we work together with other brands to develop an index so customers can compare products according to their sustainability performance.
3. What kind of opportunities does H&M offer with the Conscious Initiative and how does it benefit the community?
Our goal is to only use recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030. In 2016, 26% of our total materials were either recycled or sustainably sourced. Our goal is to increase the share of such fabrics in our total materials used every year. In doing so, we make more environmentally friendly choices available to a larger group of people, help lift these materials up to scale and create demand for further innovation.
4. People often feel that it is expensive to be fashionable but still remain environmentally conscious. How does H&M make this collection affordable and still cater to every market?
At H&M we want to make sustainable, good-quality fashion accessible to as many people as possible. We believe that conscious fashion choices should be available and affordable to everyone – without ever compromising style. Conscious products, marked with green tags, can always be found in our stores.
5. How can H&M’s Conscious Initiative raise awareness on sustainable fashion for millennials/younger generation whose main focus is to get the latest trends in fashion without thinking about the effects towards the environment?
In general, we can see an increased interest in sustainability from our customers. We have recently set a new goal to only use recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030. This means that all our products will be sustainable by then and it will also make it easier for our customers to make conscious choices.