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Analysis of H&M’s Eco Design practices

Eva Salisbury 200764955 DESN2500: Eco design: understanding design’s role in global ecology Word count: 3,806


Contents page 5. Introduction 6. Evolution of eco-design 7. Pioneers 9. Application of Lids Wheel 19. Research Methods 20. Future Suggestions 21. Appendices & References


‘The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.’ – Albert Einstein (McDonough et al., 2002).

Figure 2 & 3: H&M model & Home ware


Introduction. H&M is a large Swedish fast fashion retailer that operates in over 61 markets worldwide with an expanding e-commerce website (H&M, 2016). H&M’s goal is to ultimately ‘make fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable’ (H&M, 2016). H&M set up ‘H&M conscious’ built upon seven commitments (See Appendix 1) to work towards developing H&M’s product lifecycle into a 100% circular model (H&M, 2016). Ecodesign addresses environmental issues of a product at each stage of the lifecycle, while design for sustainability is directed towards the environmental and social implications of a product (Bhamra, et al., 2007). The Lids (lifecycle design strategies) wheel is an effective qualitative Life cycle thinking tool that generates new solutions at each stage of the life cycle in order to implement successful eco-design strategies from the earliest stage in a products life.  

Figure 4: H&M dress

Overall, although H&M has some successful eco-design strategies in place, in order for H&M to successfully fulfil their goal of making fashion sustainable, H&M needs to develop their fast fashion business in order to incorporate a 100% circular model, through the use of innovative sustainable materials, a zero waste commitment within their production line, educating consumers on correct use and care of garments and developing their close-the-loop scheme.


Evolution of eco-design. Eco design arose from the industrial revolution (1780 – 1848), a period of rapid change catalysed by the need for modernisation within the textiles industry. (McDonough et al, 2002). While the industrial revolution brought many benefits to society, it also created long lasting problems such as the increase of toxic waste and the erosion of the diversity of species (McDonough et al, 2002). Resistance against the industrial revolution was apparent in the arts and crafts movement. Although William Morris was concerned more with socialist issues rather than environmentalism he urged designers to ‘reunite with the true nature of their materials’ through using local and craft production (Thorpe, 2007, 11). Moreover, Marcel Breuer innovated design for disassembly, concentrating on modernist furniture and interiors that rose above the level of decoration or function to find equilibrium between function and form (Breuer, 1981). Breuer’s work is still influential today, due to the need for retailers to move towards designing for disassembly.   Following the industrial revolution, Henry Ford pioneered the standardisation of products through mass manufacture (McDonough et al., 2002). However these advancements relied heavily on natural capital and the extraction of raw materials for the inexpensive consumer goods (McDonough et al., 2002). In the years following the First World War, the

development of mass globalisation impacted the textile industry and led to the development of mass manufacture in Britain and the introduction of high-street retailers (Arnold et al, 2006). Thus this led to numerous ecological pioneers, such as the 1960’s ‘Hippie movement’ that questioned consumerism and led to publications of ‘do it yourself’ design books and ‘The whole earth catalogue’ that promoted self sufficiency and alternative systems of design (Fued-Luke, 2004).   One such design pioneer, Victor Papnek suggests in his 1972 book ‘Design for the real world’, that in an age of mass production, design demands a high social, moral and environmental responsibility from the designer (Papnek, 1972). Resulting in the need to move towards research-orientated design to prevent poor design and technical obsolescence (Papnek, 1972). In the recent years, Braungart and Mcdonough developed the ‘cradle to cradle’ system, based upon a cyclical approach to design, using a closed loop system that incorporated the reuse of existing product parts in order to create new designs (Black, 2011). This closed loop approach has directly influenced H&M, who now use over 1.3 million garments made from closed loop material (H&M, 2015).



Pioneers influence on the fashion industry and H&M.   The growth of global communications and marketing has resulted in an increasingly competitive fashion industry, resulting in the growth of offshore manufacturing in order to maintain low costs (Black, 2011). Furthermore, this increase in demand and higher customer expectations has resulted in the emergence of faster fashion cycles (Black, 2011). However the rise of fast and inexpensive fashion has put increased pressure upon the environment. It is estimated 14.4% of apparel retailers total water consumption relates to manufacturing (Ravasio, 2012), while 350,000 tonnes of clothing goes to landfill each year (WRAP, 2016). However Pioneers have played a significant role in reducing the impacts of the fashion lifecycle on the environment.

Figures 5, 6 & 7: Pioneers


Table 1: Pioneers and their influence on H&M


Influence and impact on H&M

Lynda Grose – E-collection

Lynda Grose pioneered the first ecologically sound collection of women’s clothing for Esprit in 1992 (Black, 2011). Grose focussed on the design and manufacturing elements of the lifecycle, working on maximising a garments life through durable construction techniques and minimising the use of manmade fibres (Black, 2011). The collection used naturally coloured cotton, organic cotton, recycled wool, linen and Tencel that were coloured using low impact, high fixation dyes (Black, 2011). Groses’ work influenced H&M’s material usage significantly, with the launch of H&M Conscious Collection in 2011 in order to create a collection that ‘looks good as well as does good’ (H&M, 2016). One main aspect of the H&M conscious collection is using natural fibre responsibly. H&M uses organic cotton, recycled cotton and cotton from the better cotton initiative in order to support sustainable agriculture; as well as the use of Tencel and recycled polyester (H&M, 2016).

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney is the world’s first vegetarian luxury brand and stand by the principle of not using leathers, animal skins or feathers in any of their products (McCartney, 2016). In 2008 Stella McCartney phased out the use of PVC due to the harmful chemicals and the implications these had on factory workers (McCartney, 2016). Stella McCartney’s initiatives have had a lasting impact on the fashion industry. H&M are currently working towards not using solvent based glues in their footwear opting for water based glues that require fewer safety precautions for workers (H&M, 2016). Alongside this, H&M is currently working towards the implementation of water based PU in order to increase H&M’s sustainable practice (H&M, 2015).

Worn Again

Worn Again is a leading pioneer in eradicating textile waste through the lifecycle of textile products (Worn Again, 2016). Worn Again have left the concept of upcycling behind and instead are working towards the development of circular fashion solutions (Worn Again, 2016). They have had a direct impact on H&M, through the H&M-Kering recycling technology collaboration. By 2020 the global demand for cotton is estimated to rise to 90 million tonnes, resulting in the growing issue of clothes to landfill (Worn Again, 2015). H&M has partnered with Worn Again to test the innovative circular recycling technology, catalysing innovation to present a new solution to replace the use of polyester derived from non-renewable resources and move towards using recycling technology to preserve natural resources (Worn Again, 2015).


Patagonia is a lifestyle and active wear clothing company committed to becoming a leading environmentally and socially responsible company at each stage of the lifecycle. Patagonia is focussed on using materials and technology derived from environmentally friendly and renewable resources such as the use of hemp, recycled nylon, recycled polyester, recycled wool, Tencel and organic cotton (Patagonia, 2016). Patagonia has worked to raise awareness of consumer’s perception of waste and their own environmental responsibility through innovative marketing campaigns such as the 2011 ‘don’t buy this jacket’ campaign (Patagonia, 2016). H&M has since been influenced to consider the whole lifecycle of their products and have worked with the consumer to raise awareness about consumption and waste through ‘close the loop’ bins placed in stores, where customers can hand in their old textiles of any quality and brand (H&M, 2016).


Application Of Lids Wheel and Lifecycle Thinking

Figure 8: Lids Wheel


1. Selection of low impact materials Selection of low impact materials

H&M’s current strategies

H&M are extremely conscious of the chemicals they use throughout the value chain of their garments and the negative implications these may have on the surrounding. H&M also ban hazardous chemicals throughout the production process and in products in order to comply to H&M’s overall strategy that no hazardous chemicals should be detectable in their products and working toward zerodischarge of hazardous chemicals by 2020 (H&M, 2015). Renewable materials

Man-made fibre production now accounts for over 60% of all textile production, which puts strain on finite resources such as oil and fossil fuels (Black, 2011). H&M are committed to increasing the use of sustainably sourced and renewable materials. The production of organic cotton, Better Cotton and recycled cotton significantly reduce the negative impacts of cotton production, through not using harmful pesticides and fertilizers (H&M, 2015). However this only accounts for 31% of their total cotton usage and products are still not made from 100% sustainable cotton resources, which leads to question the traceability of H&M’s sustainable cotton production (H&M, 2015).

Recycled and Recyclable materials

Recycled materials reduce the need to extract virgin resources and decrease the amount of waste that ends up at landfill (Black, 2011). H&M have started to use a select number of materials from recycled resources, such as recycled wool and using 20% recycled cotton and 90 million PET bottles from their garment collecting initiative which has produced 1.3 million new garments (H&M, 2015). H&M are also working directly with Worn Again to develop technologies for textile-textile recycling that won’t compromise the quality of their products (H&M, 2015). From the shop observation (See appendix 2) however, the only recyclable and renewable materials advertised was organic cotton, suggesting H&M still have significant improvements to make, to successfully implement alternative sustainable fibres. Table 2: Low impact materials stage


Competitor: Braintree Clothing   Braintree create thoughtful clothing at mid-range prices that take into account each stage of the lifecycle of a garment from the fabric to the production and distribution of their garments to minimise their environmental footstep (Braintree, 2016). Braintree works around the basis of slow fashion, designing garments that are made to last (Braintree, 2016). Braintree uses only Azo-free dyes, as well as finishes such as Oeko Tex that are have a low environmental impact and eliminate the use of harmful chemicals (Braintree, 2015). Braintree also only uses fabrics from natural, renewable and recycled resources, such as the use of hemp that demands no pesticides, little water and is compostable friendly (Braintree, 2016).   Recommendations for H&M   Due to H&M’s scale, H&M could work towards incorporating an increased percentage of innovative and environmentally friendly fabrics such as hemp; bamboo, Tencel and 100% recycled PET as well as the use of Azo-free dyes. Due to production of organic cotton still being water intensive, the move towards

using more hemp and bamboo will enable H&M to further decrease their water usage as well as not use insecticides and pesticides.   Barriers and incentives to improve/ of implementation   Through incorporating Azo-free dyes into production, H&M would be driven by the external incentives of increasing customer demand for sustainable products as well as going above and beyond governmental regulation in order to work towards their mission of becoming a sustainable retailer (Davis, 2011). H&M is also under internal incentives such as cost reduction, image improvement and new market opportunities (Hemel et al, 2002). However H&M may face barriers such as conflict of functional requirements and commercial disadvantage (Hemel et al, 2002). Due to using recyclable materials potentially impacting on the quality and durability of their clothing (H&M, 2015).

Figure 9: Braintree thoughtful way


2. Reduction of material usage Reduction of material usage

H&M’s current strategies

Reduction in weight

Due to H&M predominantly being a clothing retailer, it is difficult to implement stage two of the LiDs wheel in terms of reduction of the weight of the garment, because of the garment needing to be of a particular size and aesthetics. However, H&M have designed guidelines for their transport packaging to minimise the use of single garment packaging when transporting products through the use of transport boxes (H&M, 2016).

Reduction in (transport) volume

H&M uses reusable transport boxes, which are sent back to the distribution centres to be used again (H&M, 2016). Furthermore, stores do not have backup stock, but are replenished directly from the distribution centres (H&M, 2016). This ensures that volumes of stock transported are kept to minimum and are in correlation with customer demand. Table 3: Reduction of material usage

Recommendations for H&M   Through analysing Amazon’s strategies (see appendix 4) using durable stackable pallets would be a suitable alternative for H&M, in order to further reduce the volume and durability of their distribution boxes. This would also enable them to significantly reduce the use of polyethylene bags in transportation due to having a contained box. However due to the compact size and nature of clothing, H&M would further increase their eco-efficiency of online orders through implementing ASOS’s guidelines of using recyclable plastic bags rather than boxes in order to reduce transportation volume and thus reducing co2 emissions (ASOS, 2016).

Barriers and incentives to implementation   H&M would be under internal and external incentives suggested by Hemel and Cramer, such as customer demand and government legislation, as well as significant environmental and costs reductions due to the reduction in transportation (Hemel et al., 2002). Under European Standards it is now obligatory to comply with requirements to make packaging suitable for recycling and reuse as well as source reduction guidelines (British Standards institution, 2016). The introduction of recyclable or recycled polyethylene bags instead of boxes for their online shopping channel would reduce weight and transportation volume and satisfying customer demand. However H&M may face barriers such as conflict with functionality, due to having to maintain the quality of their garments throughout transportation (Hemel et al., 2002). 12

3. Optimisation of production techniques Optimisation of production techniques

H&M’s current strategies

Lower/ cleaner energy consumption

H&M have implemented low impact production methods for the treatment of their denim through a partnership with Jeanologia, which aims to reduce water consumption, energy use and chemical management (H&M, 2015).

Less production waste

All suppliers have to have an effluent treatment plant in order to treat wastewater and follow a strict restricted substance list to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals throughout production (H&M, 2015).

Fewer/ cleaner production consumables

78% of H&M’s energy used in warehouses, offices and stores was from renewable energy (H&M, 2015).

Fewer production steps

Conventional textile manufacturing has a wide range of negative impacts on the environment such as water wastage; intoxication, green house gas emissions and inefficient use of materials (McDonough, 2002). H&M have integrated the fabric and yarn mills that are involved in making 50% of their products, In order to reduce production steps and efficiency (H&M, 2015). Table 4: Optimisation of production techniques

Kings of Indigo   Kings of Indigo manufacture quality denim, tops and accessories through innovative and sustainable production (Kings of Indigo, 2015). K.O.I focus on using recycled yarns from old cut fabrics and fibre clippings to manufacture new garments in order to reduce reliance on virgin materials and water consumption (Kings of Indigo, 2016). K.O.I also incorporates transparency throughout the whole of their value chain, with

direct relationships with all their suppliers and are produced as locally as possible to reduce energy consumption (Kings of Indigo, 2016). However due to the scale of H&M, moving production closer to their distribution centres may not be viable due to H&M’s current fast fashion business model, which relies on inexpensive offshore production for fast and inexpensive lead times.


Recommendations for H&M   H&M could further improve their ecodesign practice through implementing the use of natural dyes and the reuse of waste fabric within their production to make new garments. H&M could also aim to have a direct relationship with all of their suppliers in order to fully monitor sustainable practice and increase transparency throughout the supply chain.   Barriers and incentives to improve/ of implementation   According to Hemel & Cramer, H&M would be under external and internal incentives to

optimise production techniques such as government legislation, cost reduction and environmental benefits (Hemel et al., 2002). Due to H&M’s size, H&M has the power to put pressure on suppliers to go beyond local environmental legislations as well as incorporate the latest innovative production techniques into the production line that would bring further cost reductions and environmental benefits. However H&M may face barriers such as conflict of functional requirement and fixed logistics planning which may inhibit H&M from incorporating further sustainable practices (Hemel et al., 2002).

4. Optimisation of distribution system Optimisation of Distribution system

H&M’s current strategies

Less/ cleaner/ reusable packaging

H&M only use recyclable single materials in order for packaging to be easily separated and recycled as well as designing packaging to optimise space-use, making it more efficient to transport without compromising its function (H&M, 2016).

Energy efficient transport mode

Due to H&Ms size and geographical positioning all over the world, various modes of transport, however rail, road and shipping are used to reduce the environmental impacts (H&M, 2016). H&M’s transport providers have to work to environmental initiatives such as SmartWay and Way-Ahead and sea fright partners need to register their environmental performance in the clean shipping index (H&M, 2015).

Energy efficient logistics

Shipments from the supplier’s factories are transported directly to H&Ms logistics centre across the market, which support the stores within their geographical vicinity (H&M, 2015). This ensures that the merchandise is transported as quickly and fuel efficiently as possible. Table 5: Optimisation of distribution system


M&S   M&S is the first major retailer to carry out study of the carbon impact of their end-toend logistics footprint, identifying that 80% of their logistics network green house gas emissions arise from fuel used for transport (M&S, 2015). This has enabled M&S to work on efficiently packing their lorries to reduce transport journeys as well as improving transport efficiency by 33% (M&S, 2015). Due to H&M’s size, a similar study could be carried out to further reduce green house gas emissions from transport.   Recommendations for H&M   H&M have already made significant improvements to their logistics, however H&M could make further improvements by implementing a study on the green house gas emissions from distribution throughout

their supply chain, in order to determine areas from improvement and further increase fuel efficiency.   Barriers and incentives to improve/ of implementation   H&M would be under the internal and external incentives of complying with government legislation as well as the cost reductions and environmental benefits for implementing a study to improve fuel efficiency (Hemel et al, 2002). However H&M may face barriers such as seasonal influences and the complexity of the supply chain, which may impact the study and cause changes in fuel efficiency (Hemel et al, 2002).

5. Reduction of impact during use Reduction of impact during use

H&M’s current strategies

Lower energy consumption

The use stage accounts for 26% of the carbon emissions of a garments life through washing and care of the product (H&M, 2015). Allwood acknowledges that in order to reduce the environmental impact of a garment, consumers have to be educated on the better practice of garment care, such as the elimination of tumbling drying which uses 60% of the use phases energy (Allwood et al, 2006). H&M has implemented a ‘climate smart’ campaign, to educate customers on the environmental benefits of reducing washing temperature to 30 degrees instead of 60 degrees

Cleaner energy source/ Consumables

No current strategies in place

Fewer consumables needed

Easy care properties such as crease resistance, reduces the need for ironing (H&M, 2015).

No waste of energy/ consumables

No current strategies in place 15 Table 6: Reduction of impact during use

Recommendations for H&M   Although H&M already promote climate smart washing, H&M could further inspire consumers through creating a sustainable wash guide and more information on the care label giving advice on washing stains, how often garments should be cared for and the estimated lifetime of their garment if looked after properly. Through analysing at Kate Fletchers work, alternative innovative strategies were determined (see appendix 5). However due to H&M being a fast fashion world wide retailer, such an innovative scope on design may not fulfil customer acceptance or demands for on trend, easy wear clothing. Through undertaking online survey on customer perception of eco-design and H&M’s sustainable practices it was evident, that the majority of H&M’s customer base wanted more information on how to

sustainably care for their clothes (See Appendix 2).   Barriers and incentives of implementation   H&M would face internal and external incentives such as responding to customer demands for more information on caring for the garments sustainably as indicated in the online survey, as well as the evident e n v i ro n m e n t a l b e n e f i t a n d i m a g e improvement of educating their customers on sustainable care (Hemel et al., 2002). However, H&M may face barriers for implementation, such as conflict with the functional requirement of the garment, which may have special care properties that require more energy to maintain (Hemel et al., 2002).

6. Optimisation of initial lifetime Optimisation of initial lifetime

H&M’s current strategies

Modular product structure

Designers have the ability to integrate eco-credentials into the design and aesthetic of a garment, whilst not compromising on fashionabilty (Black, 2011). Nes and Cramer identify in ‘Influencing product lifetime through product design’ that fashion is a key driver in the consumer determining the obsolescence of a product (Nes et al, 2003). H&M works under the fast fashion business model, designed upon a ‘throw away’ culture. Although this model is ultimately unsustainable, retailers such as H&M could consider implementing the cradle-to-cradle approach, designing products to be easily disassembled and returned at the end of it’s life, in order to preserve natural resources (McDonough et al., 2002). H&M are already working in corporation with The Ellen MacArthur trust to work towards a 100% circular model in order to promote a strong product-user relationship in order to minimise waste and dependence on natural resources (H&M, 2015). Table 7: Optimisation of initial lifetime


Recommendations for H&M   Through analysing Braintree and Nudie’s jeans strategies (see appendix 5), H&M should work further towards implementing a circular business model through designing products for easy disassembly whilst maintaining quality and price as well as providing mending kits for their classic styles and jeans in order to prolong the use stage of these particular garments.   Incentives and barriers to implementation   H&M’s internal incentives for introducing designed disassembly would be of environmental benefit and cost reduction

due to a reduced demand on natural resources and energy consumption (Hemel et al., 2002). Whilst customer demand and image improvement would be incentives to implement repair kits (Hemel et al., 2002). However H&M could face barriers such as conflict with the functionality of the product and may put them at a commercial disadvantage in relation to fast fashion competitors (Hemel et al., 2002).

7. Optimisation of end of life system Optimisation of end of life system

H&M’s current strategies

Reuse of product

H&M currently follows the waste hierarchy extending the life and durability of unwanted garments through second hand use, investing in the Swedish start up company Sellpy that offers an online second-hand sales service (H&M, 2015).

Recycling of materials

According to WRAP, around a third of unwanted clothing goes into landfill (H&M, 2015). H&M promoted their core message of ‘there are no rules in fashion but one – recycle your clothes’ through the campaign video ‘close the loop’ in 2015 (H&M, 2015). H&M uses consumers unwanted garments of any brand to recycle or reuse them within their supply chain through implementing ‘close the loop’ bins in ever store (H&M, 2015). H&M strives to increase the percentage of recycled garments in its production, with 1.3 million garments made from close the loop material in 2015 (H&M, 2015). However from the in store observation and online survey carried out, many of the bins were empty in store and many consumers stated although they would use it, it required a lot of time and planning to take their unwanted garments into the store. Table 8: Optimisation of end of life system


Reformation and recommendations   Reformation design and manufacture all their collection in Los Angles with the mission to lead and inspire a sustainable way to be fashionable (Reformation, 2016). Reformation set up Refcycling, enabling customers to print off a Refcycling shipping label online that allows them to send their unwanted garments to reformation in the box they ordered their new garments in and arrange a pick up at no additional cost (Reformation, 2016). Customers can then track their garments and see the positive environmental impact they have made through an online tracker page. Due to H&M’s size and online channel, H&M could set up a similar initiative in order to take the responsibility off the consumer

and make it easier for consumers to recycle their unwanted garments.   Incentives and barriers for implementation   Hemel and Cramer suggested that H&M would be under the incentives of customer demand to implement a recycling pick up service, and would increase the effectiveness of the close the loop initiative due to taking the responsibility of the consumer. H&M would also face internal incentives of e n v i ro n m e n t a l b e n e f i t a n d i m a g e improvement however may be costly to implement (Hemel et al, 2002).

@ New concept development McAloone and Andresen suggest that in order to maintain status quo in the ecosystem, designers need to re-address the manner in which we design products in order to make leap-changes rather than small incremental improvements throughout the value chain (McAloone et al, 2002). This will enable innovation of the whole product service system, delivering significant environmental and economical benefits to the company (McAloone et al, 2002). ASOS provides a vintage/ second hand shopping service called ASOS market place, enabling consumers to sell their unwanted garments directly through ASOS (ASOS, 2016). H&M could implement a similar service online and in store to maximise a user-product relationship as well as a stronger relationship with H&M throughout the whole of the garments life.


Research Methods

Throughout the analysis of H&M’s ecodesign practices a wide breadth of research was gathered, with secondary research from online reports, H&M’s website, books and competitors pages as the most useful methods to gather and evaluate H&M’s current and potential strategies. Primary research was carried out through an observation and survey in order to gain information on the c o n s u m e r ’s p e rc e p t i o n o f H & M ’s sustainable strategies and to evaluate how successful they were. However the research gathered could have been improved through carrying out an interview with an employee who worked within the company in order to fully evaluate the effectiveness of their current strategies.   The Lids wheel provided a good basis to guide the evaluation of H&M’s current sustainable strategies and promoted innovative thinking throughout the 8 stages of the lifecycle (see figure 8 ). This was an effective qualitative tool to use for H&M’s investigation due to being a

simple, definable and easily obtainable tool to enhance understanding and generate new ideas. Another alternative qualitative tool, is Total beauty, which acknowledges the integral role of design in innovating sustainable products (Datschefski, 2001). The total beauty approach acknowledges that all environmental principles use one or more of 11 key concepts and provides a good basis to develop innovative eco-design strategies (Datschefski, 2001). However the approach is not as easily definable and as complete as the lids wheel. Moreover, investigation could have been improved through using the Lids wheel in conjunction with LCA (lifecycle analysis tool) in order to quantitatively assess the environmental implications at each stage of the lifecycle (Lewis et al., 2001). LCA also provides the scope to guide beneficial areas for improvement, as well using the tool to confirm the environmental impact of the new strategies through using previous statistics as a benchmark (Lewis, 2001).

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

•  Shop observation •  Online consumer perception survey

•  •  •  •  •  • 

Books Online Reports Online Journals Competitor websites Organisation websites H&M Sustainability Report 2015 Table 9: primary and secondary resources


Future Suggestions Lids Wheel Stages

Short Term

1. Selection of low impact materials

2. Reduction of material usage

- Increase in innovative sustainable fabrics: hemp, bamboo, Tencel & 100% recycled PET - Use durable stackable pallets to reduce volume & increase durability of distribution boxes

3. Optimisation of production techniques

- Clearer/ informative product labelling to reduce outer packaging

5. Reduction of impact during use

- Sustainable washing/ care guide

6. Optimisation of initial lifetime

- Mending kits given with classic styles and jeans

Long Term


- Use of Azo-free dyes

- Online orders: use recyclable plastic bags rather than boxes to reduce transport volume

- Use natural dyes

4. Optimisation of distribution system

7 . Optimisation of end of life       @ N e w c o n c e p t development  

Mid Term

-Conflict of functional requirements - Commercial disadvantage - Additional costs - Negative consumer perception - Conflict of functional requirement - Additional costs

- Reuse waste fabric within their production - Direct relationship with all their suppliers to increase transparency.

- Conflict with functional requirements - Fixed logistic planning

- Implementation of a study to assess green house gas emissions from distribution throughout the supply chain.

- Conflict with functional requirement - Seasonal influences - Complexity of the supply chain

- Conflict of functional requirement - Design products for easy disassembly

- Circular business model full implementation

- Set up a free online return system to increase convenience for consumers

- Conflict with functional requirement - Commercial disadvantage - Complexity of logistics - Costly to implement - Customer perception    

- Second hand/ vintage online and in store service

- Customer perception - Image perception - Conflict with fast fashion business model - Commercial 20 disadvantage

Table 10. Future suggestions

Appendices & References   Appendix 1

H&M has build its conscious collection upon 7 commitments (H&M, 2016): 1.  Provide fashion for conscious customers 2.  Choose and reward responsible partners 3.  Be ethical 4.  Be climates smart 5.  Reduce, reuse, recycle 6.  Use natural resources responsibly 7.  Strengthen communities  Appendix 2   H&M shop observation at the Bristol store, carried out on the 30th April 2016.   In order to carry out primary research, a shop observation was carried out to identify the size of the conscious collection across the women’s, men’s and kidswear departments, as well as identifying H&M’s sustainable strategies in store.   Conscious collection   The conscious collection was hard to find in store, with only 3 fashion items marked with the conscious green label on the women’s first floor. The main conscious collection was compromised of a small range of very basic tops and bottoms, which was hidden at the back of the store. There was little signage in store to advertise the conscious collection throughout the women’s and men’s section, however the kids department was more promising with a wide range of fashionable kids clothes with the green label and clear signs to advert the use of organic cotton and a 3 for 2 promotion on conscious items. Overall the sustainable collection was disappointing, with very few choice of garments for men and women, a significant increase of sustainable materials throughout there fashion items need to be implemented in order for H&M in order to increase engagement with the consumer.   H&M close the loop boxes   As stated in their 2015 sustainability report, H&M had implemented ‘close the loop’ recycling boxes on every floor, strategically placed next to the checkout tills and close to escalators in order for them to be easily visible. However the majority of the boxes were empty, indicating low customer engagement with the scheme. This could be due to H&M relying on and putting too much responsibility on the consumer to bring in old garments.   Conscious collection and sustainable advertising   Throughout the store there was very limited advertising of the conscious collection, however the advertising of the close the loop scheme was well advertised as well as their new water reduction strategies that were advertised behind the checkout tills, for successful consumer interaction.


Appendix 3   Online survey consisting of 50 respondents (40 female & 10 male), created on 30th April 2016 sent via email and Facebook to H&M consumers.   1. Would you purchase a sustainably sourced item? No – 5% Yes, if it was of the same quality, price and fashionabilty – 90% Yes, regardless of price, quality and fashionabilty – 5%     2. Would you consider purchasing a garment made out of recycled garments? Yes, as long as the style wasn’t compromised – 5% Yes, as long as it was the same price – 10% Both of the above – 40% I may consider it – 30% No, never – 15%   3. Would you choose an organic cotton product over a product made of hemp or bamboo? Yes – 10% Yes, only because I don’t know enough about hemp or bamboo – 60% I have no preference – 20% No, I wouldn’t buy either – 0%   4. Did you know H&M had a conscious collection? No – 50% Yes, but I’ve never bought from it – 45% Yes, I’ve bought a few items – 5% Yes, I buy from it regularly – 0%   5. Do H&M make it clear from their labelling the environmental benefits of washing at 30 degrees? Yes, it’s very clear – 60% I am aware but it doesn’t make me change my habits – 10% No – 30%   6. Do you purchase second hand clothing? Yes, I regularly but from charity and second hand shops – 20% Yes, only at vintage markets – 30% Yes, from other retailers – 5% Yes, a few items – 15% No, never – 30%   7. Were you aware of H&M’s sustainable strategies from the advertising in store and online? Yes, it is well advertised in both channels – 20% Yes, but only online – 20% Yes, but only in store – 0% Yes, but I still don’t know enough – 40% 22 Yes, but I would like more information on how I could help – 10% No – 10%  

8. Have you ever used the close the loop-recycling scheme? Yes, regularly – 0% Yes, once or twice – 15% No, I’ve never used it – 80% No, I didn’t know they had a scheme – 5%     9. Why haven’t you considered using it? I didn’t know they did one – 5% I use my local charity shop, its local and more convenient – 20% Too time consuming – 30% I don’t visit the store very often – 20% I always forget to take my old clothes – 25%   10. Would you consider using an online free pickup service if you ordered online? Yes – 60% No – 40%   From completing this survey, it was evident that although H&M’s were known, many consumers feel they are not educated enough about their sustainable strategies and schemes. Many consumers would consider buying a conscious product if the style, price and quality of the garment were not reduced as well as being prepared to buy more innovative sustainable fibres such as hemp and bamboo if more information was given on them. Appendix 4 Amazon   Amazon has developed a software program that determines the ‘right sized’ box for any given item in relation to its size and weight and the use of double-stacked pallets (Amazon, 2016). This has significantly reduced packaging waste and transportation costs due to the decrease in transport volume and weight. Due to the size of Amazon these strategies would be appropriate for a large-scale business like H&M to implement due to the size of their orders across a range of international markets, so would significantly reduce their transport volume.   Appendix 5   Kate Fletcher   Kate Fletcher created the no wash project to try to innovate and break social norms of regularly washing clothing (5 ways, 2003). Fletcher recognised that washing clothes was closely tied with social acceptance and the western culture of keeping clean (5 ways, 2003). Fletcher pushed these boundaries by creating a collection of tops that were designed not to repel dirt but to wear it, with wipe clean surfaces and underarm ventilation (5 ways, 2003).


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Analysis of H&M'S eco design practices