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Toxic-free fashion industry

Chemicals play a large role in our operations, and they are an essential part of manufacturing clothing, as well as homeware and cosmetics. Needless to say, the chemicals we operate with must be safe to produce and wear.

To raise awareness and discuss the challenges that are posed by harmful chemicals, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation) invited leading players within the field of chemical management to virtually participate in the Global Chemicals conference, taking place at the beginning of November. There, H&M Group shared learnings from phasing out an hazardous chemical named PFAS.

Phasing out hazardous chemcials

In the clip below, H&M Group’s Head of Sustainability Anna Gedda shares the learnings from this journey starting back in 2002 and leading up to a phase-out in apparel, shoes and homeware assortment in 2013. Most recently, in 2018, we eliminated PFAS in all branded H&M Group cosmetics.

Phasing out a chemical is often a long and complicated process. It involves testing and reconstruction of the working processes. It also requires our manufactures as well as the chemical industry to develop  safer alternatives while maintaining the same level of quality.

Call to action for all industries

In connection to the conference, filmmaker and activist Mark Ruffalo presented his critically acclaimed feature film Dark Waters (2019) which tells the true story of an American chemical manufacturing corporation contaminating a small town with unregulated and harmful chemicals in the early ’80s. As a part of the conference material, a film clip with Mark Ruffalo, H&M Group and organisations from numerous industries was shared where the challenges of regulating toxic PFAS were discussed and how we can collectively move forward in eliminating harmful chemicals from our global environment.

 

H&M Group, together with many other brands and corporations, have proudly signed a pledge by ChemSec called “No to PFAS”, urging policymakers to regulate PFAS and inspire corporations to invest in innovations and safer alternatives.

Safety first

The bottom line for us at H&M Group is that safe chemicals are fundamental for our products. Equally important is to collaborate with manufacturers, industry organisations, legislators as well as our competitors. There is a strong need to set an overall industry standard for safe chemicals, that apply for all types of manufacturing and consumption, to secure a toxic-free fashion industry for all.
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