H&M strives to close the loop on clothing fibres

Swedish fashion giant H&M has released its annual report for 2014, revealing increased renewable energy use, more waste-water recycling and a growing commitment to the circular economy.

The report states: “One important goal for H&M is to close the loop on textile fibres. Along with experts and various innovative companies, H&M is working to find a circular model for use of these resources.”

Currently the high-street’s appetite for ‘fast-fashion’ means around 85% of discarded clothing ends up in landfill.

To tackle this, H&M recently launched the Garment Collecting initiative where customers can drop off used clothing in-store for re-use and recycling. The scheme aims to save raw materials as well as the water, energy and chemicals used in processing. In 2014, H&M collected 7,684 tonnes of used materials, and turned these fibres into new clothing.

The company also became the largest global user of sustainable cotton, sourcing more than a fifth of its cotton from sustainable sources.


H&M has partnered with WWF in an effort to reduce the enormous impact of clothing brands on the world’s water supply – it takes approximately 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton.

The partnership has worked on solutions include treating and utilising more wastewater, and the Conscious Denim collection – where sustainable processes use around 45% of the water used in conventional denim production.

Energy and emissions

Emissions of greenhouse gases amounted to around 342,000 tonnes in 2014, a 4% reduction over 2013.

The main reason for the reduction is reportedly the increased share of energy sourced from renewable, which jumped from 18% in 2013 to 27% last year.

One area of concern was a 2% increase in average electricity consumption thanks to the addition of LED mood lighting and video screens to many stores in order to “give customers an even more inspiring shopping experience”.

Edie recently detailed four groundbreaking innovations that forward-thinking fashion brands were using to slash their environmental impact.

Brad Allen

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