Nineteen emerging entrepreneurs from around the world came to Hamburg, Germany, with one common goal: to design an innovative packaging solution which would amplify H&M’s sustainability efforts. We came because H&M Germany gave us a challenge to develop a packaging solution that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Our goal was to minimize waste, reduce energy, optimize the handling process and create maximum recycling opportunities along the way. By taking a complete look at the supply chain from shipping, to storage and finally reaching the consumer market, this challenge was an opportunity to develop a more efficient and environmentally-friendly process that can be scaled for significant environmental impact.
H&M is well on its way to becoming one of the leading water stewards in the fashion industry. The company recently entered a global partnership with WWF, the World Wildlife Fund. This partnership is the first of its kind and sets a new standard in the fashion industry. Through this partnership, H&M commits to the responsible use of water resources throughout the entire lifecycle of a garment, from how cotton farmers water their crops, to how customers wash their clothes.
H&M is on a mission to make sustainable fashion attractive, accessible and affordable. Its aim is to run the business in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable for both present and future generations, the company said. “As a responsible company we want to make people in H&M stores more aware of sustainability. We want to help create a more conscious group of consumers worldwide and boost the innovation of a multi-national company,” said Angela Gallenz, human resource manger for H&M Germany. “We are excited to work with the 19 DO School Fellows to contribute to a more sustainable world.”
ECOLOGI is a globally responsible, innovative and sustainable shoe packaging solution. It offers an eco-friendly approach to H&M’s packaging logistics. ECOLOGI reflects the vision and core values of H&M, translating these values into three key points: planet, people and price. Our packaging solution is eco-conscious, human-centered and cost-conscious. It offers one complete solution for maximum social impact.
We looked at two things. We wanted to have a clear understanding of how H&M’s packaging system works and what exactly happens along the supply chain. We spent time at the H&M store and distribution center. We learned everything we could ever want to know about H&M’s shoe packaging. We spoke to people in production, a variety of experts and store employees. We identified the pain points and the places we wanted to intervene.
With the support of the H&M staff, we developed four distinct prototypes. Each concept addresses a specific type of product and a specific area of the supply chain. Using the DO School Method -- Dream, Focus, Plan and Do -- we brought our ideas to life. Our four solutions reduce waste, optimize the handling process and make use of the most sustainable materials. From a triangular-shaped shoebox that can pack twice as many shoes, to a sustainable hanger that stays in the store, our solutions are creative, innovative and forward-thinking.
We presented our ideas at an event held at the H&M Germany showroom in Hamburg. We transformed the showroom into an interactive exhibition space. The event was well attended by both H&M and DO School personnel. We look forward to seeing how our ideas will be implemented by H&M in the years to come.
Joi M. Sears is the Founder and Creative Director of Free People International, a social enterprise which specializes in offering creative solutions to the world's biggest social, environmental and economic challenges through the arts, design thinking and social innovation.