The fashion industry depends heavily on natural resources. While raw material production can be harmful to people and planet, there are materials that leave a lighter footprint. We make every effort to source more responsibly, guided by our policies, ambitions and goals.

Our material vision

We take a progressive approach to our material work, continually evaluate the materials we source to reflect the latest science, best practices, and knowledge. This ensures we can respond to changes caused by global events, societal and environmental change.

Our vision is to move towards more resilient and circular raw materials that stay within planetary boundaries, enhances livelihoods, and thrives on innovation. It is built around three pillars:1

  • Recycled – we prioritise post-consumer, closed-loop, recycled materials that can be reused and recycled, which means reducing our reliance on virgin materials.
  • Regenerative – when we need to source virgin raw materials, we prioritise those produced through regenerative agriculture practices that improve soil health.
  • Responsible – the foundation of our material vision, we source raw materials responsibly, and collaborate with other industries to minimise risks to the environment, human rights, and animal welfare, while also supporting local communities and ecosystems.


To become a circular business, we need to reduce our dependency on virgin fibres. By doing this, we will reduce our negative impact on climate, nature and communities, and help to meet our environmental goals and ambitions. In an ideal world, these recycled fibres would come from used textiles to create a closed loop. However, we need to build global infrastructure for collecting and sorting used garments, as well as scale up recycling technology to guarantee an adequate supply of recycled fibres. In the meantime, pre-consumer feedstock, for example from offcuts and scraps generated during production, can make up the shortfall. Read more about how we work with collecting, sorting and recycling.


As part of our materials vision, key virgin raw materials should be produced using regenerative agricultural practices. Crop rotation, cover cropping, minimal or no-tilling, as well as the use of natural fertilisers all help improve soil health. And healthier soils store more carbon, retain water more efficiently, and positively impact biodiversity and farmer livelihood. Over time, healthier soils will create healthier crops, cutting the need for inputs like pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. Find out more about the regenerative agriculture projects we are investing in.


Securing our supply of raw materials in a responsible way is the foundation of our materials vision. It is based on OECD guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct and the UN Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights. The materials we source for our products should be produced in a way that contributes to sustainable development, respects human rights, preserves natural resources, and helps maintain biodiversity. 

Our Responsible Raw Material Sourcing Requirements and Animal Welfare policies state:

  • Suppliers of raw material must comply with all applicable environmental, health & safety, labour and social laws and regulations (including land tenure and use rights).
  • We do not allow any wood or other forest-derived materials, including man-made cellulosic fibres, to originate from ancient and endangered forests, or to contribute to deforestation.
  • No endangered and/or vulnerable species may be used in the production of our products.2
  • Since 2020, all cotton sourced for H&M Group comes from more sustainable sources.3, 4
  • By the end of 2025, all virgin wood used in our products, including packaging, will come from FSC™ certified sources.4
  • By the end of 2025, all virgin wood used in our man-made cellulosic fibres will come from certified responsible sources.5
  • By the end of 2025, all virgin wool and animal hair must come from farms certified to animal welfare standards.4,6

How we evaluate and categorise materials

Our material categorisation framework supports our product teams to take better sourcing decisions. It’s a key tool that will help us reach our material goals.

The framework is guided by our Responsible Raw Material Sourcing Requirements and Animal Welfare policies, as well as Textile Exchange’s Preferred Fiber & Materials Matrix methodology. We evaluate the environmental impact of each material using third-party lifecycle assessment (LCA) data. This includes LCAs for individual materials as well as external material benchmarks based on LCA data, such as the Material Sustainability Index (MSI) by Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Using these third-party assessments helps to create industry alignment and makes it easier for customers and stakeholders to understand the impact of our products.

Download the H&M Group Material Categorisation 2022.

Material standards

Materials that fall into the higher categories need to be certified by third parties. For those where no third-party certifications exist, we support the development of new standards to ensure responsible sourcing.

For recycled materials, we have two different approaches – the fully certified supply chain and GRS certified manufacturers using chemical tracers to verify the recycled content.

Some of the standards we use to certify our materials include – Organic Content Standard (OCS), Global Recycled Standard (GRS), Recycled Claim Standard (RCS), Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). More information about our work with traceability.

Our materials goals

All materials have an impact on climate, nature and people - from production, use and end of life. To reduce this impact, we aim for 100% of our materials to be either recycled or sourced in a more sustainable way by 2030, and 30% recycled materials by 2025.

In 2022, we increased the amount of recycled materials in our products to 24% and the share of more sustainably sourced materials to 84%, making good progress towards our goals.4 

% of recycled or other more sustainably sourced materials

The materials we source

Our materials basket shows the share of materials we source for our products. We prioritise work on the materials we source the most or that have the biggest environmental or social impact. 


Cotton is the raw material we source the most. It has many benefits, but it is also a challenging commodity. Since 2020, we have sourced all our cotton from recycled or more sustainable sources. Despite achieving this milestone, we will keep exploring other cotton types and innovations to bring sustainable change. Read more about the cotton we source.


Synthetics are our second most sourced fibre and include polyester, polyamide, elastane and acrylic. The compounds used to make these fibres come from fossil-fuel-derived resources. We aim to phase out virgin polyester by 2025, primarily using textile-to-textile recycling (as opposed to PET bottles). In 2022, 74% of our polyester was from recycled sources.4 Synthetics add important functionality to products such as stretch, increased strength and durability, crease resistance and quick drying. Read more about the synthetics we source.

Man-made cellulosic fibres

Man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCF), or regenerated cellulosic fibres, are more commonly known as Viscose, Lyocell and Modal. They are made of dissolved pulp, produced from wood, textile waste, or agricultural waste and residues. Read more about our approach to MMCFs.

1 For our full material vision see our Sustainability Disclosure, page 43.
2 As defined by CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – and the IUCN red list of Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable listed species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.
3 Currently, this means certified organic cotton, recycled cotton, or from Better Cotton sources.
4 For more information about our goals and the progress we’ve made, see our Sustainability Disclosure, pages 20-21.
5 Certified sources are FSC or PEFC.
6 For a full list of the standards we use in our material sourcing, see our H&M Group Material Categorisation 2022.

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.