H&M Conscious Exclusive Event: 2019
Model Irina Shayk wearing H&M Conscious Exclusive

H&M began the next phase of its transparency agenda this week. It now shares details on the production country, supplier, factory names and addresses for all the garments being sold online across its 47 markets. Customers are also able to find out how many workers the factories employ, as well as access specific information about the materials used to make the garment.

Shoppers can also access this ‘transparency layer’ in store by using the H&M app to scan the price tag on a product. The hope is that sharing this level of information will help shoppers make more informed choices and show the wider fashion world it is possible to be open and transparent.

H&M has a history of bringing sustainability into mainstream fashion.

In 2010, it unveiled its eco-friendly Conscious Collection of organic cotton, hemp and recycled polyester garments. Three years later, it became the first fashion company to collect old textiles in store for reuse and recycling, and in 2014 released its first line made from recycled fibres gathered through the scheme.

Meanwhile, through its Conscious Exclusive collection of premium sustainable pieces made from recycled glass and silver, as well as orange fibres it hopes to take eco-fashion up a gear.

Currently 57% of the clothes the company sells are made from sustainably-sourced materials, but the goal is to get to 100% by 2030 and to be ‘climate positive’ throughout its value chain by 2040.

The work H&M has done over the past 12 months has helped the group improve its score on Fashion Revolution’s 2019 Fashion Transparency Index, which rates 200 brands and retailers across 202 indicators, to produce a score out of 100%.

While no brand exceeds the 65% mark, H&M is among the top five brands in the global listing. Sportswear giants Adidas (64%), Reebok (64%) and ethical clothing brand Patagonia (64%) top the ranking, followed by Esprit (62%) and H&M (61%). While the Swedish retailer was fourth highest in last year’s index, H&M improved on its 2018 score by six percentage points.

A score of between 61-70% means the brand is publishing detailed supplier lists, including information about manufacturers and processing facilities, as well as its raw material suppliers. The introduction of the transparency layer could propel H&M even higher up…