23% of H&M's garments are made of polyesters, adding tons of microplastic in the ocean
Around 35% of the microplastics present in the oceans is due to synthetic textile consumption1. About 190,000 tons of microfibers are released into the oceans when our synthetic garments are washed2. 85% of the pollution on the shorelines of the oceans around the world is due to microplastics2.
85% of H&M’s supplier production volume implement democratically-elected worker representation
The ILO estimates over 152 million children in child labour1 and 470 million people affected by insufficiently paid work2. The garment industry widely contributes to these numbers3,4,5,9 and is very often in the spotlight for violating rights, such as employee union representation. In this regard, the ILO’s tripartite system regroups workers’ unions, employers, and states6, with the aim of guaranteeing “decent working conditions”7 is seen as an impactful one, capable of influencing private companies.
H&M successfully eliminated PFC, a hazardous chemical, from all of its product
Textile sector is a major user of hazardous chemicals and polluter of freshwater worldwide. Many such chemicals are proven to cause cancer or disrupt hormonal systems in humans and animals. These effluents build-up hazardous chemicals in food chain1:p7. Chemicals are used to decide the colour, shine, water resistance, durability or some other unique character of a fabric2:p12.
H&M’s bid to curb water pollution due to textile wastewater discharged from its supplier factories
H&M, a global fashion giant, has suppliers performing various textile production processes in many industrialized river-basins which are facing challenges of water pollution6;p45. These processes ranging from dyeing, printing, washing etc, generate huge amounts of wastewater that continue to pollute water bodies7. As of 2016, it was found that H&M’s production activities were leading to a textile wastewater discharge of 93.3 million m3 globally2;p49. In a world where 1.5 million people die annually due to diseases related to drinking pathogen-polluted water and one in three people globally do not have access to safe drinking water1, H&M realised the need to tackle the water pollution problems and developed a water sustainability road-map in partnership with WWF, in 20186;p44.