Chemicals

Chemicals are essential in our everyday lives as well as in the making of clothes in processes such as washing, dyeing and printing. Good chemical management is crucial to ensure safe use and reuse of materials in the circular system.

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.

Chemical Roadmap Going Forward

This is how H&M Group will continue to lead the way towards our overarching goal: toxic-free fashion by 2030.

• Traceability — of the input of chemicals used in H&M Group production for commercial goods by 2030.

• Policy Engagement — push legislation and support public policies promoting progressive chemical management.

• Transparency — share information with customers, right to know principle. Full public disclosure of wastewater discharge test data.

• Best Available Chemistries — we promote innovation and the development of better chemicals and technologies to enable the use of better chemicals in the supply chain.

• Zero Discharge — no discharge of prioritised hazardous chemicals in the supply chain.

• 100% Circular and climate positive — to enable our goal to use 100% recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030, from the chemical perspective (materials and processes).

• Collaboration — clean factories (all MRSL chemicals phased-out in the whole production site) and 100% Common Industry tools and standards.

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. H&M Group is also a member of Apparel and Footwear RSL Management. The mission and vision of AFIRM are to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in the Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain.

Safe Products

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 have 100 % Toxic Free Fashion by 2030.
To drive this transformation we encourage our supply chain to use ZDHC Gateway (a web-based industry-wide platform, Chemical Module) to choose the best chemicals.

Toxic Free

In 2011 H&M Group and many other brands signed a commitment to phase out hazardous or chemicals within the textile and leather supply chains by 2020. From the start, the industry took a collaborative approach and formed Zero Discharge Hazardous Chemicals Foundation (ZDHC). Within ZDHC a program to secure good chemical management has been developed.
H&M Group has implemented this program and during 2019, 100% of our suppliers with wet processes such as dying, and printing has been enrolled in the ZDHC programs to control the input chemicals as well as the output water.
 

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.

 

ZDHC Program 100 % Enrollment

The ZDHC program enables us to measure how we are performing on this journey towards toxic-free fashion. Now we have achieved 80% ZDHC compliance of input chemicals. Our H&M Group goal is to reach is 100% ZDHC compliance in 2020. We call it Roadmap to Zero, and we are all on it.

 

How we control ZDHC MRSL compliance

Additionally, our suppliers' wastewater is getting cleaner; for 2019 we have reached 99,9 % ZDHC MRSL compliance. At H&M Group we have root cause routines in place to handle each failure to help us and our suppliers reach 100 %. By sharing our results, we encourage transparency. All wastewater results are also published at IPE platform as well as in ZDHC Gateway.

 

Waste water compliance

 

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 the 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, bioaccumulative, 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.

 

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