Elsewhere in the H&M sustainability report for 2016, the company says that on recycling, since the start of its global garment collection initiative in 2013, H&M has collected 39,000 tonnes of unwanted textiles and by 2020 the company aims to collect at least 25,000 tonnes of textiles every year. However, the majority of these textiles are downcycled and a small proportion are incinerated. The proportion of garments that are recycled into new clothing still remains miniscule, and while the latest sustainability report outlines initiatives and work on closing the loop in textiles – for instance with the Ellen McArthur Foundation and through the H&M Foundation – much of this work still remains at the blue sky 'thinking stage'.
Emerging technologies for chemical-based textile-to-textile recycling still remain in the laboratory, and it would be a welcome move if H&M could use such reports to outline exactly what is happening with, for instance, the work of Worn Again, which promised so much at its launch and which H&M has supported in the past.
“We want to use our size and scale to lead the change towards circular and renewable fashion while making our company even more fair and equal. This is why we have developed a new strategy aiming to take our sustainability work to the next level," said Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at the H&M group, although what this next level actually is, the report doesn't make clear.
"We want to lead by example, pave the way and try new things – both when it comes to the environmental and social side – to ultimately make fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable. Our climate positive strategy is one way of doing this," she noted.
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