H&M Group is working to ensure that all the products from all brands within H&M Group are safe to produce and wear. This includes eliminating any hazardous discharge into water, soil and air. This is reflected in our chemical vision is to lead the change towards safe products and a toxic-free fashion future.
Leading the Change
H&M Group’s chemical requirements usually go further than existing regulations and we often promote progressive chemical management and the overall strategy is that hazardous chemicals shouldn’t be used in production or be found in any of our products. H&M Group was one of the first in the industry to establish a Chemical Restrictions List in 1995, that has been continuously updated since. Our suppliers are contractually bound to comply with the list. Our Restricted Substance List is based upon the precautionary principle meaning that we restrict substances even when there is scientific uncertainty regarding their hazardous properties.
Input Control and Waste Water
H&M Group works towards increased traceability of input chemicals. Our suppliers are using tools (Ecube and CleanChain) to monitor input chemicals. These tools will also help suppliers to assess and improve their chemical usage and discharge. We also perform waste water testing according to ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines and the result is publicly available on the IPE platform and ZDHC Gateway.
H&M Group has adopted Screened Chemistry, a method to assure that we choose the best in class chemicals. Screened Chemistry is a hazard-based method that involves a third-party assessment that addresses environmental and human health hazards. It enables us as a fashion company to design hazardous substances out from our production. Our goal is to use 100 % Screened Chemistry products by 2030. To drive this transformation, we have also created a Positive List where all screened products can be added to provide better alternatives and to inspire others in the industry to more sustainable production. We encourage everyone in our supply chain to use it, to support our ambition in fostering clean production through safer chemicals. The Positive List is also included in the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Gateway: Chemical Module, a web-based industry-wide platform to choose the best chemicals maintained by the ZDHC Organization.
H&M Group is committed to eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals in any production procedure by 2020. We see collaboration with other brands as key to reach this goal. H&M Group is a signatory member of Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC). Within ZDHC we work together with other brands, organization and chemical industry to develop the ZDHC programmes on input and output control as well as on processes on how to measure our performance and create a safer textile industry by eliminating hazardous chemicals.
H&M Group is also member of Apparel and Footwear RSL Management. The mission and vision of AFIRM is to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in the Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain.
Recycled Materials and Chemicals
Recycled materials are a key element in the circular economy. However, increasing the use of recycled materials while staying toxic free presents a challenge. We have therefore initiated mapping of textile waste streams and assessing of chemicals. In this way, we can assure that hazardous substances are not allowed to re-enter the production cycle.
Our chemical restrictions are developed based on the legal standard in the markets we operate, as well as data from authorities, NGOs and scientific reports.
Our Sustainability Commitment assessments include a set of requirements concerning the safety of chemical handling and storage, as well as environmental requirements such as the treatment of wastewater and the handling of hazardous waste.
We define hazardous as persistent, bio accumulative, toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction or endocrine disruption.
To ensure compliance with our Chemical Restrictions we perform regular tests on our products, mainly performed by third-party laboratories. In 2018, more than 48700 of such tests were conducted to ensure the safety of our products.