Speaking exclusively to edie.net after a discussion on the circular economy at the Resource event in London (4 March), H&M head of sustainability Helena Helmersson said: “The circular economy is a prerequisite for us. It is embedded in our long-term profitability. It’s really close to the business and to use natural resources in this way is actually cost-efficient.

“For us, this is a clear long-term business case to keep on being profitable in the long-term. We will have to find ways on being less dependent on natural resources.”

Helmersson also mentioned H&M’s global garment collection initiative, which aims to close the loop on textile production by eliminating waste and decreasing the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
She said she was proud of H&M’s new denim collection, which I made from old clothes collected from customers.

Helmersson said that 20% of recycled materials are present in its new denim collection and it “would be great” if the fashion giant could increase this amount in the future.

She also explained that in the long run H&M will be aiming to put more resources into innovation. She said: “We have seen with the garment collection initiative that if customers are part of the solution and we engage with them to change behaviour, we become a great success. We are trying to find more ways to have successful relations with customers.”

Elsewhere at the Resource event, Wrap chief executive Liz Goodwin said she was disappointed that the development of the circular economy was happening slowly. Speaking in relation to individual businesses, she said that there was still a lack of awareness around the concept and “lots of risks involved in doing something different”.

She also said individual businesses need to “know what they can practically do and that is a big challenge”.

Goodwin explained: “We have been working on alternative business models for a number of years now and quite frankly I am disappointed on how much progress we have made. It’s been very slow.”

Liz Gyekye

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