Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life on our planet. These species and organisms work together to support everything we need to survive, and to build a resilient business. But fashion impacts biodiversity at every stage of its value chain.
Why we work with biodiversity and nature
Biodiversity loss is recognised as one of the biggest challenges of our time. In WWF’s Living Planet Report 2022, it states that wildlife populations have declined on average by 69% in the last 53 years. Immediate action is needed to reverse this trend. The link between biodiversity, nature and business is well established and according to the World Economic Forum, biodiversity loss is the third biggest risk businesses face.
At H&M Group, every stage of our value chain affects the natural planet and the biggest impact comes from sourcing raw materials. At the same time, we are dependent on biodiversity for fertile soil, robust forests, quality air and water, as well as healthy pollinators to produce natural materials for our products.
Our work in other areas of sustainability is already helping biodiversity and nature. We are reducing our reliance on natural resources through our transition to becoming a circular business and improving our material sourcing. While our work on to reduce emissions, lower our water use and use only safe chemicals help to protect and restore habitats and species.
However, this is not enough. We need to take greater responsibility and set a more strategic approach that specifically targets biodiversity and nature. Our ambition is to have a net positive impact on biodiversity by:
- Working to prevent and reduce our overall impact on the biodiversity and natural ecosystems touched by our value chain.
- Supporting the protection and restoration of biodiversity and natural ecosystems in line with scientific advice.
We are continuing to map our impact on biodiversity and nature using the method set out by the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN). We will use these findings to set science-based targets and then disclose our impacts according to framework set out by the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). These targets will support the global targets agreed at COP15.
For our current and future work, we will follow a framework called ARRRT that sets actions in a priority order:
We are reducing our impact by increasing the recycled content of our products and using greater amounts of certified materials such as Responsible Wool and wood from FSC certified forests.
3. Restore & regenerate
Regenerative agriculture and conservation projects help to restore natural habitats and increase the resilience of nature.
Through collaborating with others, we bring about transformation change to the fashion industry.
Our biodiversity and nature projects
We are investing in projects connected to the parts of our value chain where we have the biggest environmental impact – raw materials.
In collaboration with BKB, one of South Africa’s largest auctioneers, and Textile Exchange we are introducing regenerative practices to over 500,000 hectares, supporting land conservation and restoration and delivering training to 1,000 farmers.
We worked with the Textile Exchange’s Leather Impact Accelerator (LIA) to create a framework for best practices in the leather supply chains to prevent deforestation activities in supplier farms.
Working with WWF, we are engaging communal smallholders and large commercial sheep farmers in South Africa’s newest National Park to work towards regenerative wool production to improve biodiversity and social development. (Image credit © Peter Chadwick / WWF)
Alongside WWF, we are supporting smallholder cotton farmers to adopt regenerative farming practices to improve soil and pollinator biodiversity and help farmers build sustainable incomes. Based in the Satpura-Pench wildlife corridor in central India, the project also aims protect essential wildlife corridors for vulnerable species such as tigers, leopards and sloth bears. (Image credit © Ola Jennersten / WWF)
In India, we aim to reach 120,000 farmers and bring 100,000 hectares under regenerative agricultural practices by 2026. The project is founded by the Laudes Foundation, IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative and WWF India. It brings together government, brands from several sectors, farmers and civil society.
To encourage more farmers to adopt regenerative cotton agriculture, we held a workshop in May 2022 for organisations working with farms in countries like India, Pakistan, Türkiye and Australia. The event gave participants a vital platform to discuss barriers and share best practice.
A collaborative effort
Halting and reversing the decline in biodiversity and nature needs a collaborative approach. Working with partners and through cross-industry collaboration will accelerate change. Here are some of the organisations we work with and how we are taking action together:
- In the run up to COP15, we joined Business for Nature’s (B4N) Make it Mandatory campaign, calling on negotiators to make assessment and disclosure about impacts on nature compulsory. We are also part of B4N’s Strategic Advisory Group.
- We have worked with WWF for over a decade, collaborating to address our environmental impact. As part of the partnership, we provide funding and advisory input to the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.
- As part of our Fashion Pact membership, we participated in the have mapped the Transforming the Fashion Sector project analysing the land, biodiversity and ecosystem impacts of our leather supply chain in line with the SBTN framework.
- We continue to support the science-policy interface for biodiversity through the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
- We contributed to an Ellen MacArthur Foundation study on how the circular economy can tackle biodiversity loss.
We publish our Sustainability Disclosure annually. In this document, we set out our goals and the progress we’ve made in the previous year. Find the latest version here. More up to date information can be included on this page.