Products of Change

DRIVING SUSTAINABLE
CHANGE TOGETHER

Sat 19 Sep 2020 | by Michelle Urquhart

“We need to build back for the better”

The current pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of the linear economic system according to H&M’s Cecilia Strömblad Brännsten Cecilia Strömblad Brännsten, sustainability engagement manager for H&M spoke on the Explore the Circular Economy Show from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation about the need for the fashion industry, and indeed the economy in general to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Cecilia was joined on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s YouTube channel by Rob Opsomer, part of the executive leadership team for the Foundation and Veronique Cremades-Mathis, global head of sustainability for Nestle. The panel discussed how the coronavirus has highlighted the vulnerabilities in the linear economy and the need to build back with a circular economy. Cecilia told the panel: “This crisis has really showed the vulnerability with the linear system. I think it is more important than ever that we stick to this agenda and although times are tough for business and people in general we need to build back for the better and we really need to accelerate the transition to a circular economy which will make us more resilient.” H&M has already started to close the loop with innovations such as Vegea – a vegetal leather alternative made from waste from winemaking. As well as being animal-friendly and free from solvents, no heavy metals or other harmful substances are involved in turning discarded grape skins, stalks and seeds into beautiful vegan leather. And then there’s Circulose, the world's first fashion material made from 100% discarded cotton. The Swedish company behind this clever innovation found a way to take discarded cotton and viscose, turn them into a slurry and create a biodegradable pulp which can be turned into new fibres, yarn, fabrics and garments. All with no loss in quality compared to virgin fibres.

H&M Conscious range is made from at least 50% sustainably sourced materials
H&M Conscious range is made from at least 50% sustainably sourced materials
H&M has ambitious plans for all its products to be made from recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030. This actually already applies to 57% of the materials that it uses. Going a bit further is the Conscious concept: pieces created with a little extra consideration for the planet. They're made from at least 50% sustainably sourced materials. Pineapple leaves, hemp, shoreline waste and recycled glass are a few of the materials it has used in its Conscious Exclusive collections.