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H&M to position itself as leader in sustainability

H&M is looking to position itself as a more sustainable fashion retailer, as it publishes its annual sustainability report and launches its latest eco collection this Thursday.

The Swedish chain will publish its latest sustainability report on Thursday, highlighting its efforts in manufacturing and supply chain over the last 12 months.

It will reveal that 2.5 million pairs of its shoes last year were made from less harmful, water-based solvents, and that it used recycled polyster equating to 9.2 million plastic bottles.

H&M head of sustainability Helena Helmersson told the Observer the fashion chain was looking to “do the very best” it can with a lot of resources and a “clear direction” of what it’s supposed to do.

While Helmersson conceded that there are no “guarantees” around ethical issues including labour rights, especially given that H&M does not own any of its factories, the retailer has hired 100 corporate social responsibility specialists, 75 of whom are auditors, assessing social and environmental conditions in factories.

Helmersson also told the newspaper that H&M was looking to “close the loop on fibre” through exploring how waste could become a resource for the retailer.

She added: “My dream is to be perceived as a company  who can offer all people in the world – even those without much money – the possibility to dress really well and sustainably.”

On Thursday H&M will also launch its Conscious Collection - a sustainable fashion range, made from ‘eco’ materials including organic cotton and recycled fabrics.

The men’s, women’s and kidswear collection is created from materials such as organic cotton, Tencel and recycled polyester and will be on sale in all H&M stores. It’s a follow up to last year’s sustainable range called Garden Collection.

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