H&M debuts Conscious - sustainable denim

Oct 2, 2014

H&M launches their Conscious Denim line today:

The new 40-piece line includes jackets, jumpsuits, scarves, beanies, and a darn cute pencil skirt, all ranging from $20 to $50. There are pieces for men, women and even kids.

This denim line is all about going eco by reducing both energy and water use. In an interview with Yahoo Style, H&M’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Erik Karlsson says,  “I think that the business society in general is beginning to realize the crucial need for sustainable business models, not just for the sake of future generations but for the long-term survival of these very businesses. To my knowledge it’s the first time a global fashion company introduces a denim collection that not only uses more sustainable materials but also more conscious processes.”

H&M is about more than just saving energy and improving water usage. In fact, it defines a 9-part sustainability plan:
  1. Conscious denim - the new eco-friendlier denim line.
  2. Cotton - by 2020, all cotton pieces will be either organic, recycled, or follow the Better Cotton Initiative.
  3. Water - H&M recognizes how much water impacts their business, from growing cotton to customers washing their clothes. The brand has a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund concerning water stewardship. For more, here's a short video about their water policies.
  4. Sustainable materials - using nontraditional materials, like organic hemp or recycled plastic.
  5. Wages - with the goal of paying fair living wages to 850,000+ workers by 2018.
  6. Working Conditions - H&M checks working conditions in a few expected ways, like unannounced site visits and audits. They also work with UNICEF on the issue of child labour.
  7. Animal Welfare - although their animal welfare standards are a little vague (and somehow the full Animal Welfare Policy itself has gone missing...?) it's at least safe to say H&M doesn't test it's own cosmetic products on animals.
  8. Garment recycling - if at any point you don't want your old H&M clothes, you can take them back to a store to be recycled.
  9. Overall business concept - This is what H&M has to say about how sustainability influences their business practices, you decide for yourself if it's adequate: "An important element of our strong offering is that H&M should be the more sustainable choice. Considerable resources are devoted to increasing sustainability." (Head to this page if you'd like to read more, although you won't find much.)
Want to know more? Check out H&M's Sustainability Report

Are you headed out to see the new Conscious Denim line? I'd love to hear your review, leave a message in the comments!

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