In offering an eco-ranking traffic light system on their clothes, this is H&M’s latest measure at making their products more environmentally sustainable. H&M have been making some very big steps in their environmental work recently, with their Conscious line being made from more environmentally sustainable materials. Their commitment to making good fashion sustainably is becoming a key message of the brand, and this is important as the world faces a climate crisis.
Each product is going to be given a score ranging from “baseline” to “3”. The baseline score is where products are made from conventional materials – that is fabrics which aren’t biodegradable, like nylon. The scores of 1, 2 and 3 are being given to products that are made with materials that are biodegradable, 3 being the less impactful. This will allow customers to also see a detailed amount of data which shows the product’s impact on water use, global warming, fossil fuel use and water pollution. Currently this system is being used on six items on the site and despite being a small start, is looking to expand.
It isn’t H&M who set the sustainability level, but it is the Higg Index Sustainability Profile that sets it. This allows the brand to become more transparent in its environmental impact when producing clothing. The Higgs Index brings tools to understand standardised measurements of value chain sustainability and the Higg Index also works on the Higg Facility Social & Labor Module, helping an assessment of the social performance of the value chain for products.
Such work is a part of H&M’s commitment to going climate positive – with a remit of reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than those emitted throughout the value chain. However, the Higg Index Sustainability Profile does not analyse the workers’ rights going into the production of clothing, which affects the true extent to which these clothes are being produced ethically. Yet, these levels of transparency are a step in the right direction for consumers and for the environment when looking at fast fashion and production rates.
Amazon is also looking to use this impact data in their work too, reflecting the move to transparency in multi-national corporations, with brands like Zaldano and C&A looking to follow suit.
You can see the six items on the H&M website on their Higg Index Sustainability Profile page (only available on the ‘Women’s Clothing’ section currently).
(Thanks to Tik Tok user reclaimeddna for article inspo with her video on the traffic light system!)