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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

H&M Leads in Organic Cotton Purchasing

H&M is the top user of organic cotton in the world for the second consecutive year, according to Textile Exchange's latest Global Sustainable Textiles Market Report. H&M started using organic cotton in 2004, when it incorporated "small amounts of certified organic cotton into certain children's garments," as the company states on its website. Since 2007 H&M has some garments that are made from 100 percent organic cotton. In 2011, the company increased its use of organic cotton by almost 100 percent. Organic cotton represents 7.6 percent of their total cotton use, which puts the company on track to meet its goal of using only "more sustainable cotton" by 2020. H&M has been involved in the Better Cotton Initiative, a move to develop and promote good farming practices, since it began in 2004. H&M views the BCI as the "key initiative to help us reach our goal of sourcing all cotton in our range from sustainable sources by 2020 at the latest."
"We plan to further increase our use of organic cotton in the future, beside making strong investments in Better Cotton and gradually increasing our use of recycled cotton," said  Henrik Lampa, Sustainability Manager Product at H&M. "Cotton is the raw material we use the most and our good progress against our goal means major improvements for people and the environment in cotton producing communities." "We congratulate H&M for again leading the list of the biggest users of certified organic cotton in the world," said LaRhea Pepper, Managing Director of Textile Exchange. "H&M’s ambitious program continues to drive demand for organic cotton and other more sustainable fibres. This strategic work serves as a model for adopting and expanding the use of greener materials in the fashion industry."

H&M's other sustainability initiatives

The Textile Exchange report cites four ways that H&M continues to practice sustainability in general:
  1. Constantly increases its volume of organic cotton which creates a bigger market that supports cotton farmers globally
  2. Promotes more sustainable fashion choices within a fast-paced industry that are accessible to a range of different customer groups
  3. Drives demand for more sustainable fibers and fabrics and in doing so encourages innovation in the area of ecotextiles
  4. Invests in new initiatives that advance collective understanding of sustainability challenges within the textile industry
Some of the specific sustainability initiatives highlighted in H&M's 2011 CSR report include:
  • Reduced energy use by 11 percent. The target for reducing store energy use is 20 percent by 2020.
  • Uses 100 percent recycled polyethylene (PE) to make its disposable plastic shopping bags
  • uses 100 percent FSC certified paper for its paper shopping bags.
  • For the candles sold in its HOME collection in 2012, used only Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil.
  • Uses recycled PET to make some of its garments
[Image credit: Wikipedia]
Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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