Carl Johan Persson, CEO of Swedish H&M, is concerned that the growing popularity of environmental activists and the eco-conscious movement will have a negative impact on the haute couture industry, and the economy as a whole.
Persson emphasized that fashion companies need to continue pushing to be more sustainable, but must also continue to drive sales.
He notes: “We must reduce our impact on the environment. At the same time, we must also continue to create jobs, get better health care and everything that comes with economic growth.”
According to the United Nations, the garment industry alone accounts for about 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the energy consumption is higher than that of shipping and aviation. H&M’s 2018 Sustainability Report, published in March this year, notes that 57% of all materials used to manufacture the company’s products are either recycled or obtained from other sources, and the company’s carbon footprint has been further reduced by 11%, bringing it closer to the goal of creating a climate-friendly value chain by 2040.
“We are part of an industry that certainly faces significant environmental and social sustainability challenges, but I want the H&M Group to continue to be a positive force in addressing these common challenges,” Persson wrote in his report. “We know that we are a large company, and therefore we know that we have the same responsibility to ensure a positive impact on our planet.”
It’s no secret that “fast fashion” has a real and lasting impact on the environment. Brands like H&M make inexpensive and fashionable, but not durable clothing: This makes it easier for consumers to see them not as durable goods but as disposable goods.
As a result of this mentality, the global fashion industry today produces 100 billion items of clothing for 7 billion people, resulting in millions of tons of clothes being dumped annually. Of course, H&M is not the only fashion brand that has created this culture, but it has actively contributed to its development.
Do you agree with Persson’s take on fashion and the environment? Let us know in the comments below!