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Sustainability Meets Fast Fashion: H&M's Conscious Journey

Date: 13 May 2013

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10 pages, 2 Figures

Executive Summary

Fast fashion is not an industry synonymous with sustainability. H&M, the SEK141 billion ($22 billion) clothing retailer headquartered in Sweden, stands out from its competitors by incorporating sustainability within its operations, products and mainstream communications. This case study is one in a series of Verdantix reports that analyses corporate sustainability strategies and provides CSOs and VPs of Sustainability with an independent analysis of H&M’s ‘Conscious’ sustainability strategy. Verdantix finds that while H&M’s sustainability goals lack solid targets, the key tenet of the firm’s strategy is product-level sustainability embodied by its Conscious products and recycling initiatives rolled out across all of its 49 markets globally. The incorporation of sustainability as a key attribute of its global marketing and communications brings sustainability to mainstream consumers. By doing so, H&M can recoup brand and reputational benefits. In this fiercely competitive sector, any differentiation that its Conscious strategy can create in the minds of price-sensitive consumers will be key to the longevity and success of sustainability at H&M.



H&M’s Conscious Strategy Begins To Integrate Sustainability Within The Corporate Brand

Product-Focused Sustainability Initiatives Span The Value Chain

H&M’s Explorative Marketing Temporarily Pushes Sustainability Into The Mainstream


Figure 1. H&M Chooses To Report Against ‘Ongoing’ Sustainability Targets
Figure 2. H&M’s Conscious Strategy Spans A Wide Range Of Sustainability Initiatives


Adweek, Aeropostale, Anvil Knitwear, Better Cotton Initiative, C&A, Campaign, Dell, Forever 21, Greenpeace, H&M, HP, HSBC, Inditex, I:Collect, Labour Behind the Label, Lenzing, M&S, Nike, Primark, PUMA, Ross Stores, Siemens, Textile Exchange, The Leather Working Group, Unilever, UNIQLO, WWF, Zara.