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H&M Group at Copenhagen Fashion Summit

For this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, our CEO Helena Helmersson sat down with Professor Johan Rockström, director at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to discuss accelerating circularity and securing financial resilience, all while running on limited time.

Both have extensive experience of working with the topic of sustainability. Prior to becoming CEO of H&M Group, Helena has been one of the driving forces behind H&M Group’s sustainability transformation. Johan Rockström is best known for the development of the Planetary Boundaries framework, which has since become a standard of sustainability science.

During the session the two discussed, among other things, how the linear business model creates a problematic downstream, how to determine true net profit by including natural resources and why we simply can’t sit around, waiting for the industry to wake up and secure circularity on every level:


“We can’t really wait for everybody´s awareness, because there’s just so much more urgency in this question. How can we be a part of influencing customer behavior, which is also a responsibility we have because of our size” 

Helena Helmersson, CEO H&M Group


“We need to define growth in a way that internalizes all the natural capital. (…) All the resources that you are taking out of the biosphere have to be valued in a way that gives you a better sense of where you are in terms of true net profit.”

Johan Rockström, director at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research


Other H&M Group acitivties at CFS+

Our B2B initiative Treadler, was present at Copenhagen Fashion Summit, together with its partner Tarasima. There they shared learnings from their journey on achieving sustainable change in the supply chain by moving beyond compliance:

“We see a gap between current sustainability efforts, where basic compliance many times is both the floor and the ceiling for buyers, and where our industry needs to be to achieve true change – while also being successful within the planetary boundaries. The journey takes time and we want to help garment and textile companies overcome some of the initial business barriers by sharing learnings from H&M Group’s journey” 

Gustaf Asp, Managing Director Treadler

As another contribution at the summit on the topic of Transparency, H&M’s Head of Sustainability Pascal Brun showcased the results of a series of customer-facing, on-product-transparency tests performed by H&M this summer, together with Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). The tests looked at how customers reacted to the presentation of Higg sustainability performance scores on over 7000 product pages which resulted in over 7million customer interactions. Higg scores were linked to the environmental sustainability performance of the factory that each product was made in. The main test findings indicated that including Higg scores on products, didn’t impact customers short term purchasing habits, but rather the purpose of sharing the scores is to increase customer awareness, perception and trust.


”We empower customers with the tools to make informed choices, drive change and understand the impact of their purchases on the environment and society.”

Pascal Brun, Head of Sustainability at H&M. 

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