H&M is a global apparel powerhouse with about 2,900 stores in more than 40 countries and 104,000 employees (including 150 in-house designers). It operates six chains: H&M, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, COS, Monki, and Weekday.
Now, the chain has established a unique recycling program that is garnering positive publicity worldwide.
As Katarina Gustafsson reports for Businessweek:
“H&M executives figure they’ve found a way to use clothing waste to burnish the retailer’s reputation. A program started in February encourages consumers to recycle their castoff garments by offering discounts on yet more clothing purchased at its stores. It will be rolled out at all H&M stores by year-end and could attract shoppers as the chain struggles to increase revenue.”
“By potentially alleviating tight cotton supplies and reducing the piles of old garments choking landfills, the recycling push may also bolster the company’s image in the wake of factory safety incidents in Bangladesh, where H&M produces garments. ‘This is a good thing for getting people into their stores,’ says Bryan Roberts, an analyst at researcher Kantar Retail. ‘It’s often the case that green initiatives go hand in hand with commercial objectives.’”
“The Stockholm-based retailer collects clothing of any brand and in any condition in white-and-green boxes in stores. Switzerland’s I:Collect buys the garments and, depending on quality, either resells them or gives them new life in things such as cleaning cloths and stuffed toys. ‘We don’t want clothes to become waste; we want them to become a resource instead,’ says H&M sustainability manager Henrik Lampa. ‘We want to make new commercial fibers out of this, to make new clothes and textiles.’”
Click the image to read more.
Photograph by Brea Souders for Businessweek