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conten m ethodol ogi es

Bot h pr i m ar yand secondar yr esear ch hasbeen under t aken t o cr eat e at hor ough and det ai l ed st udy oft he aut hent i ci t yofH&M’ ssust ai nabl e m ar ket i ng st r at egi es.


Pr i m aryr esear ch i ncl udes: A cl osedended sur veywher e one hundr ed f ast f ashi on consum er swer e sel ect ed bypur posi ve nonpr obabi l i t ysam pl i ng.The consum er sr epr esent t he ext er nalval i di t yoff ast f ashi on consum er s.The ai m wast o gai n an under st andi ng i nt o whet her consum er sar ei nt er est ed i n sust ai nabl e m ar ket i ng pr act i ces. Af ocusgr oup wi t h si axr espondent s,of het er ogeneouspopul at i ons.Thr ee oft he r espondent swer ef ast f ashi on and H&M ent husi ast s, wher east he ot hert hr ee di d notshop asof t en.The i nf or m at i on wasgat her ed t o est abl i sh whet herconsum er swer e awar e of gr eenwashi ng t act i cs. Bot h pr i m ar yr esear ch pr ocedur eswer e car r i ed out asan et hi calr esear ch pr oj ect ,wi t h al lpar t i ci pant s si gni ng an I nf or m ed ConsentFor m ( See Appendi xA) .

Thr ough i nnovati ve gl obal com m uni cati onsand syst em ati c m ar keti ng str at egi es, com bi ned wi th the i ncr em ents ofgl obal i sati on,the f ashi on exper i ence hasbecom e com pl et el y“ dem ocr ati sed” ( Sun,Hoon and Ki m ,201 4) . Sti m ul ati ng a cor r espondi ng sur ge t owar dsnew consum er i sm atti tudes,r etai l er s,such as H&M,ar e of f er i ng a new busi ness m odel :‘ f astf ashi on’ .Usi ng a r el entl essm anuf actur i ng syst em , theypr oduce com m odi fied cl othi ng,whi ch pr ovi desthe m ai nstr eam consum erwi th the l at estf ashi on tr end,bef or e di scar di ng the nextseason.

the‘ acti veconsum er’


Associ etali ssuesbecom e an i nt egr at ed par tofthe f ashi on i ndustry,‘ Acti ve Consum er s’ar e dem andi ng a m or e hol i sti c appr oach t o the f ashi on di al ogue. Managem enttheor i stPor t er ( Schi l l er ,201 6) ,bel i eves com pani esar e ent er i ng a cont em por ary,thi r d stage i ni ts r el ati onshi p wi th soci ety.Fi r st, ther e phi l anthr opythen ther e wascor por at er esponsi bi l i ty. Now,ther ei s‘ Bi g Br and Redem pti on’( Tr endWat chi ng, 201 6) ,wher e com pani esar e wor ki ng on actualsol uti ons: pr oductsorservi cesthatserve soci alpr obl em s.

Uti l i si ng thi sm ethod,f ashi on com pani esar e now begi nni ng t o l ook i nwar d,i m pl em enti ng changest o thei rcor e oper ati ons thr ough str at egi csustai nabl e m ar keti ng.Defined asthe “ pr ocessofpl anni ng,i m pl em enti ng,and contr ol l i ng the pr i ci ng, pr om oti on,and di str i buti on of pr oducts”whi l stai mi ng t o sati sf y thr ee cr i t er i a’ s:


( Assoul y,For estFl i erand Bul ger ,201 3) .

Asa m eansofr eflecti ng an authenti csustai nabi l i ty concer n,H&M have endor sed the noti on ofthe tr i pl ebott om l i ne ( El ki ngt on,2004) .Thi si ncl udes thr ee com ponents:peopl e,pl anetand pr ofit.By em pl oyi ng thi sper specti ve,the f ol l owi ng f acetswi l l di scussthe l egi ti m acyofH&M’ scor por at e acti ons:


Notonl yhasthi sbusi nessm odelf uel l ed sar t or i al dem and buti thasal so pr oduced hi gherconsum er expectati ons.Al though cl otheswer e once str i ctl yf or uti l i tar i an pur poses,the f astf ashi on epi dem i chasl ed t o consum er spur chasi ng pr oductsf orpr of ound em oti onal ,psychol ogi caland soci ocul tur alr easons. Fr om the str at egi cper specti ve ofconsum er sati sf acti on,Masl ow ( Masl ow' sHi er ar chyofNeeds, 201 4) ,stat esthatconsum er suse thei rpur chasi ng powerf oran ‘ est eem need’ .Fastf ashi on consum er Layl a stat es,“ Idefini t el ybuy[ …]f orsel f f ul fil m ent.I f antasi se aboutthe ki nd ofl i f e Iwoul dl ead;the ki nd ofper son thatIwoul d becom e i fIpur chased a par ti cul ari t em …”( See Appendi xC p. 4) .I n tur n,the f ashi on i ndustryhasdevel oped i nt o an i nstantgr ati ficati on pr acti ce wi th a l ack ofstr ong and m eani ngf ulconsum er t opr oductr el ati onshi p. Runni ng count ert o costr educti on m easur es,H&M att em ptt oi ncr ease sal esbyr espondi ng m or er api dl y t o consum erdem and.

Wi th the cur r enteconom i cand i ndustr i alsyst em sof the f ashi on i ndustryr el yi ng on f astf ashi on,the r at e of styl e tur noverhasi ncr eased consi der abl y.Tr end l ed pi ecesbecom e di sposabl e,and ar e of t en di scount ed i n st or et o m ake wayf ornew st ock. Retr ospecti vel y, thi shastr anscended i nt o a new consum ershi f t:the “ di scountcul tur e” .W i th si xm ar kdown per i ods schedul ed acr ossthe yeari n the Uni t ed Ki ngdom , of f pr i ce shopper snow accountf or75per centof appar elpur chasesacr ossal lchannel s( Am ed etal . , 201 6) .W hi l stsuch tacti csar e usef ult o dr i ve f ootf al li n the shor tt er m ,theyar e gener al l yunsustai nabl ef or f astf ashi on r etai l er s,asm ar kdownsand pr om oti ons eventual l yl ead t ol owerpr ofitm ar gi ns.

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wor ki ng condi ti ons

I n 201 3,H&M com m i tt ed t oi m pr ovi ng wor ki ng condi ti onsbysi gni ng the Accor d on Fi r e and Bui l di ng Saf ety,or gani sed i n the wake ofthe Rana Pl aza. Accor di ng t o the Cl ean Cl othesCam pai gn,theyar e sti l lbehi nd on thei rcor r ecti ve pl ans.I n 201 6,theysti l l have m i ssi ng fir e door sand spr i nkl er sdue t o“ i m por t del ays”( Cl ean Cl othesCam pai gn,201 6) . However ,despi t e poorwor ki ng condi ti ons,the soci etali m pactofof f shor e m anuf actur i ng cannotbe under stat ed.Ni ci ta and Razzazz( 2004)f ound that f or m erwor ker s( ofi nconsi st ent,subsi st ence or m ar gi nalem pl oym ent)gai ned a 24% r i se i n pur chasi ng power ,i nr egar dst or ecei vi ng a hi gher wage f r om the t exti l esand appar eli ndustry.Thi si sa suf fici entenough change t ol i f tthem outofpover tyi n LDC’ s.I nf act,the der i vati ve ef f ectsofthi sscal e of em pl oym enthasl ed t o everydi r ectt exti l ei ndustry j ob i nI ndi a,wi th another“ 1 . 2j obsi n al l i ed i ndustr i es ( e. g. ,m achi nery,desi gn,tr anspor t) ”( Ki r chai n etal . , 201 5,p.4) .

chi l dl abour

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Af terH&M were caughtem pl oyi ng chi l dren ref ugees,theyrel eased a f orm al apol ogyand em patheti cal l ym arketed a gi f tcard i ncenti ve overthe 201 6 Chri stm asperi od,where each gi f tcard purchase woul d provi de “ one ref ugee chi l d wi th schoolsuppl i es”( donated by H&M) .Even though thi scoul d be com prehended asa tacti cal greenwashi ng pl oyto com pensate f or the bad press,i ti sat“ l easta tacti cthat benefitsyoung ref ugeesi n a genui nel y hel pf ulm anner”( See Appendi xC p.9) . The sm al lgesture ofone retai l er com m i tti ng to unreservedl ysupport ref ugee chi l dren hi ntsatwhatcoul d change i sotherf astf ashi on retai l ers adm i tted f aul t,and turned i ti nto a sustai nabl ei ncenti ve.

( I m age:The Noun Pr oj ect,n. d. )

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I n 201 5theyent er ed a gl obalf r am ewor k agr eem entwi th the gl obaluni on I ndustr i ALLand I FMetal l ,col l abor ati ng “ t o cr eat e f ur theri m pr ovem entsf orgar m entwor ker s,i ncl udi ng tr ade uni on r i ghts,col l ecti ve bar gai ni ng and f ai rl i vi ng wages. ”Thi s i ncl uded i m pr ovi ng paystr uctur es.I n 201 5,thei rgoalwast o pr ovi de 1 46 f act or i eswi th i m pr oved paystr uctur es.Al though a posi ti ve,thi sdi sconcer ti ngl yonl yaccountsf or7. 68% ofthei r f act or i es( astheycur r entl yem pl oy1 900 f act or i es)( H&M Consci ousActi ons:Sustai nabi l i tyRepor t201 5,201 6) .

No.ofstr ategi csuppl i er f actori es*wi th i m proved paystructuresi m pl em ented

al l str ategi c suppl i er f actori es

* m anuf acturi ng f actori es. ( I m age:H&M,201 6)

Constr ucti vel y,CEO Kar l Johan Per sson stat esthat“ wages[ …] i sa keyconcer n,par ti cul ar l yi n Bangl adesh and Cam bodi a” ( H&M Consci ousActi ons:Sustai nabi l i tyRepor t201 5,201 6) , howeverm ostofH&M’ spr oducti on i soutsour ced i n these countr i es.Agai n,thi si sa case ofbenefici alcom pl i ci tyasthey ar e uti l i si ng the cheap l abourpr esenti n LDC’ s.I ti sesti m at ed thatthe cur r entm i ni m um wage sti l lonl ycover s60% ofthe costofl i vi ng i n a sl um ( Cl ean Cl othesCam pai gn,201 6) .Not onl ydo l ow wageskeep gar m entwor ker si n a cycl e ofpover ty, buttheyal so add t o the pr essur et o wor kl ong over ti m e hour s whi ch i m pactson heal th and saf ety,aswel lason pr oducti vi ty.

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toxi cchem i cal s

Wi th the t otalvol um e oft exti l e and f ashi on pr oducti on atthe gl oball evelesti m at ed t o be m or e than 30 m i l l i on t onnesannual l y( Chen and Bur n,2006) ,the i ncr eased speed oftur noverhasa concom i tantef f ecton the heal th ofwor ker s.I ncr eased pr oducti on sour ceshave i ncr eased the ener gyand t oxi cchem i caloutputsr equi r ed t o m anuf actur e the appar el .Ther e ar e over1 600 chem i cal s used i n dyei ng pr ocesses,butonl y1 6% ar e actual l y EPAappr oved ( TheRef or m ati on. com ,n. d. )Addi ti onal l y, f ar m er s’exposur et o her bi ci des,f er ti l i ser s’ ,pesti ci des and gr owth r egul at or shascaused occupati onali l l nesses and pesti ci de poi soni ng thatam ountst o 3m i l l i on cases peryear ,r esul ti ng i n 20, 000 poi soni ng deaths( Eagan, 201 4) .Notonl ydo the wor ker sand f ar m er sdi r ectl y exposed t o these chem i cal ssuf f er ,butal so the l and that accum ul at esthese t oxi ns.

Wi th m or e than two m i l l i on t onnesoft exti l esthr own awayeveryyeari n the UK,am ounti ng t or oughl y£1 40 mi l l i on wor th ofwast e everyyear ,an ast oundi ng ei ghtyper centofthe t exti l e wast e coul d have been r eused ( Wr ap,201 5) .I n tur n,H&M have cr eat ed a r ecycl i ng schem e,whi ch pr ovi descust om er swi th the opti on t or ecycl e thei runwant ed cl othesand t exti l e. The donat ed cl othesar e then handsor t ed between char i tyshops,sol d on a secondarym ar ket( wher e H&M donat esthe r evenue t o char i ty)orr ecycl ed i nt o t exti l eswhi ch ar e pr oduced i nt o gar m entsf orthei r Consci ousr ange ( Consci ousActi onsHi ghl i ghts:201 5, 201 6) . Byf ocusi ng on t exti l er ecovery,the need f orl andfil l space i sr educed asi spr essur e on vi r gi nr esour ces. LastyearH&M r ecycl ed 1 2, 000 t onnesofcl othes thr ough donati ons( Gunt er ,201 6) ,wi th 47% of f astf ashi on consum er sdonati ng t o the gar m ent schem e ( See Appendi xC) .Butt o saythi si sa posi ti ve woul d be over si m pl i ficati on.Notonl yi seach donat or r ewar ded wi th a m oneyof fvoucher( wi th a m i ni m um spend)whi ch i n tur n,enti ce f ur therconsum pti on,but onl y0. 1 % ofcol l ect ed cl othi ng i sr ecycl ed i nt o new t exti l e fibr es( Wi cker ,201 6) .Lastl y,i twoul d take H&M twel ve year st or ecycl e the am ountofcl othi ng they pr oduce i n af or tyei ghthoursegm ent( Bai n,201 6) .

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‘ or gani ccotton’ Both a cel ebr at ed and vi l i fied cr op byconsum er s,thi s fibr ei si nr eal i tydel et er i ous.Notonl ydoesi tr equi r e hi gh l evel sofi r r i gati on and wat er i nt ensi ve pr ocessi ng,butthe syst em i nputsand ci r cul at es chem i cal si n the gr oundwat er ,over al lr educi ng the am ountofwat erf orhum an consum pti on even f ur ther . Secondl yKi r chai n etal . ,( 201 5)di scover ed thatthe gr eenhouse gasem i ssi onspr oduced bythe cott on i ndustryeach yearwer e the equi val entofdr i vi ng t o the sun and back about1 300 ti m es.Thi r dl y,i ti s pesti ci de l aden,whi ch contr i but est o the pol l uti on and sal i ni sati on ofthe soi l . Asan ode t o sustai nabl ef ashi on,H&M have begun t o i ncl ude or gani ccott on i nt o thei rr eper t oi r e.One of thei rseven com m i tm entsi st o“ pr ovi de f ashi on f or consci ousconsum er s, ”whi ch hasl ed an i ncr ease i n sustai nabl ysour ced m at er i al s.I n 201 4,21 . 4% ofthei r cott on was‘ consci ous’bef or e opti mi sti cal l yi ncr easi ng t o 31 . 4% i n 201 5,i ncl usi vel yam ounti ng t o1 . 3m i l l i on i t em s.To be l abel l ed as‘ consci ous, ’the cott on needs t o be atl easttwentyper centor gani c,Bett erCott on ( BCI )orr ecycl ed.Thei rt echnol ogi calchal l enges cur r entl ydo notal l ow f ora hi gherper centage wi thout the l ossofqual i ty.Al though an under standabl e figur e due t o qual i tyl i mi tati ons,on none ofthe br anded consci oustagsdoesi tm enti on thi sl ow figur e. Gr anti ng hi ghl evelpr oducti on,even on an or gani c cott on scal e,i ssti l la negati ve attr i but e.Mor eover ,not onl yi sor gani ccott on f r i vol ousl ywat eri nt ensi ve ( and thusdi scar di ng f ur therdr i nki ng wat erenabl em ent) , buti sr equi r esanywher e between twentyand fif ty per centm or el and t o pr oduce the sam e am ountasthe nonor gani cgr own fibr e.

79% off astf ashi on consum er shave pur chased a gar m entl abel l ed as ‘ sustai nabl e’ ,‘ or gani c’ ,‘ consci ous’ , ‘ ecof r i endl y’ ,or‘ ethi cal .so ther ei s defini t el ya m ar ket( See Appendi xB. 8) .

Have not pur chased

Have pur chased

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waterconsum pti on

( I m age:The Noun Pr oj ect,n. d. )

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A gr owi ng consum erawar enessofsustai nabi l i tyal so m akesi ti ncr easi ngl ypr ofitabl e.A posi ti ve r el ati onshi p showsthata l ar gerpr opor ti on ofsoci al r esponsi bi l i tyacti onscan contr i but et oi m pr ovi ng the financi alper f or m ance,si nce the ‘ Acti ve Consum er s’ who paycl ose att enti on t o soci alr esponsi bi l i tyar e wi l l i ng t o pur chase H&M’ s‘ Consci ous’r ange ata hi gherpr i ce.

However ,the noti on ofa f astf ashi on r etai l er del i ver i ng sustai nabl e val ue asan expl i ci tgoali s ar adi calone.A busi nesses m ai n ai m to m ake a pr ofit, even f orr etai l er swi th sustai nabl e val ues.I n 201 6, H&M opened 425 stor es ( About. hm . com / Fi nanci al R epor t,201 6) ,howeverthey subsi di se f orthi sby tr ansf or mi ng 78% ofthei r ener gyi nto r enewabl e ener gy.

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ar e we bei ng r eal i sti cthough? I n hi ndsi ght,shoul d we expect f astf ashi on r etai l er s,such as H&M,wi th gl obal l yestabl i shed busi nessesand outsour ci ng m anuf actur er st o be f aul tl ess,or shoul d we consi derthe tr ansi ti on t of ul lsustai nabi l i tyand ethi cal pr acti cest o be gr adual ?The i m pr ovem entsofsustai nabi l i tyi n H&M’ ssuppl ychai n,si nce the star tofthei rconsci ousacti ons devel opm ent,ar e substanti al . ButasSchi l l er( 201 6)r epor ts,a f undam entalchange i sneeded t o r each syst em ati cchange i n such af r agm ent ed i ndustry.The tr ansi ti on i nt o a m or e sustai nabl e tr ade f acesr esi stance byconi cti ng wi th thei rbr and ethosof constantchur n:theydo not acknowl edge the thr eatsof gl obalover consum pti on.Subsequentl y,theyneed t of ocuson em beddi ng tr anspar encyi nt o thei rf utur e busi nessstr at egi es:

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cr adl etocr adl e

Fastf ashi on r el i esheavi l yon syntheti cm at er i al sand envi r onm ental l ydegr adi ng m anuf actur i ng t echni ques, aswel lasthe assum pti on thatr esour cesar ei nfini t e. McDonough and Br aungar t( 2002)pr opose an i nnovati ve wayofdesi gni ng appar el ,whi ch oper at esa cr adl et ocr adl e desi gn syst em i nst ead ofthe cr adl et ogr ave syst em bywhi ch m ostofH&M’ s pr oductsar e pr oduced.H&M shoul d expand on thei r cl osedl oop r ange.Bydesi gni ng gar m entswi th the pot enti alt o bi odegr ade har ml essl yatthe end ofthei r l i ves,thi si sa pr oacti ve r esponse t o the r i si ng l evel sof t exti l e and gar m entwast e,whi l stcontr ol l i ng the ways i n whi ch the cl othesar e di scar ded.

tencelf abr i c

Al though H&M have i nt egr at ed ‘ consci ous’cott on i nt o thei rpr oductr ange,theyshoul d expand ont o other sustai nabl e m at er i al s,such asTencel .A sem i syntheti cfibr e wi th pr oper ti esal m osti denti cal t o cott on,the str uctur ei sm anuf actur ed f r om Eucal yptusTr ees,whi ch can gr ow on l owgr ade l and. Addi ti onal l y,Tencelpr oducti on i sdevel oped wi thout the use ofpesti ci desand needsei ghtyper centl ess wat erthan cott on.I tal so hasa cl osedl oop m anuf actur i ng pr ocess,m eani ng thatoverni netyni ne per centofthe nont oxi csol venti sr ecycl ed and m anuf actur ed back i nt o the syst em ,r atherthan bei ng flushed outaswast ewat er( TheRef or m ati on. com ,n. d. ) .

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pr osoci altechnol ogi es I nspi r ed byf ashi on r etai l erRef or m ati on’ s,Ref Scal e,H&M shoul di m pl em enta syst em whi ch tr acksthei r envi r onm entalf ootpr i ntbyaddi ng up the poundsofcar bon di oxi de em i tt ed,the gal l onsofwat eruti l i sed aswel lasthe poundsofwast e theygener at e.Per hapsH&M coul d begi n the gr adualpr ocessofcat er i ng thi saddi ti on t o thei r ‘ consci ous’col l ecti on,bef or e bei ng suppl em ent ed t o thei r enti r er ange.Cor r espondi ng pr oductpageswoul dt el lthe consum erwhati m pacteach gar m enthason the envi r onm ent,whi ch consci ousl yal l owsconsum er st o m ake em power ed choi ces.Thi sr eflectsthei r“ pr ovi de f ashi on f or consci ouscust om er s”consci ousacti on.Addi ti onal l y,i t woul d encour age H&M t o devel op m or e ecoconsci ous sol uti onswhen i tcom est o m anuf actur i ng cl othes,and ther ef or er eflecti ng thei r“ be ethi cal ”and “ be cl i m at e sm ar t” com m i tm ents.

or gani cgr owth

bcor por ati on

Al though H&M i sal r eadya m em berofthe Ethi calTr adi ng I ni ti ati ve ( ETI ) ,whi ch i sa l eadi ng al l i ance ofenti ti es pr om oti ng engagem entwi th wor ker s’r i ghts.I fH&M ar e si ncer e aboutm el di ng pr ofitwi th soci alr esponsi bi l i ty,they m ustai m t o becom e a BCor por ati on.These busi nessesm ust m eeta thr eshol d of“ i m pact”com par ed t o thei rpeer s,and,i n thei rgover ni ng docum ents,agr ee thatthe com panywi l ldo wel lbyi tswor ker s’suppl i er s,cust om er sand com m uni ty. Unl i ke the ETI ,BCor por ati onsar e entr apped bya financi al pl edge.Consti tuti onal l y,i ftheyf ai lt o m eetthe BCor por ati on gui del i nes,theycan be used f ornotpur sui ng sustai nabl e pr ofitsasaggr essi vel yasthei rfinanci alpr ofits enough ( Schi l l er ,201 6) .Li kewi se,thi swoul d gi ve the m ul ti nati onalcr edi tabi l i tythr ough ‘ Bi g Br and Redem pti on’ , whi l stm ani f esti ng thei rsustai nabl e authenti ci tyr atherthan an aur a ofgr eenwashi ng.Byfixi ng pr obl em s,theywi l l tr ansf or m l i ves,bui l d thei routwar d br andi ng posi ti vel yand i n tur n,gai n gr osspr ofitm ar gi n.


Delving into the subconscious; is H&M as ethically focused as their conscious actions suggest, or is