We need a mix of fibres to make products that last longer and are used more. Synthetics offer important functionality to products that can’t be achieved by natural fibres. 

Our synthetic fibres

Around 23% of the materials we source are synthetic.1 Synthetic fibres are made from chemical compounds derived from fossil-fuel-derived resources. They are often stretchier, more durable, more waterproof and quicker drying than natural fibres, bringing important functionality to our products.

We are increasingly sourcing recycled synthetics instead of virgin fibres and by 2025, we aim to only source recycled polyester.

In 2023, 79% of the polyester we sourced was recycled. 2 


Polyester is our most used synthetic fibre, and is especially common in sportswear. Increasingly we are switching to recycled polyester and by 2025 we are on track to phase out virgin, fossil-based polyester in support of Textile Exchange’s Recycled Polyester Challenge.

Post-consumer recycled bottles are often used to produce recycled polyester today. However, as part of our transition to building a circular eco-system, our focus is on scaling textile-to-textile recycling for synthetics.


Polyamide is often used to make underwear and tights, as well as outerwear. We get our recycled polyamide from materials like old fishing nets and carpets, as well as leftover waste from production. This saves natural resources and reduces waste.


Elastane is often found in products where some elasticity is needed and is known for its resilience and stretchiness. We get our recycled elastane from leftover waste from production.


Polyurethane, or PU, is commonly used in footwear and bags. We have moved away from conventional PU that contains the hazardous solvent DMFa and use DMFa free options that are better for human health and the environment.


Acrylic, a vegan alternative to wool, is crease-resistant and colourfast. We are currently exploring different options for recycled acrylic.

Projects and actions

Investing in recycled polyester

In early 2024 we co-founded Syre with Vargas Holding. The company aims to manufacture recycled polyester yarn with the same quality as virgin fibres, but at a lower impact on the environment.

Investing in biodegradable polyester

H&M Group Ventures invested in Kintra Fibers, an innovative materials science company that has developed a new bio-based and biodegradable polyester. Our Circular Innovation Lab continues supporting the project.

Advanced recycled polyester

Our Circular Innovation Lab are working with suppliers to evaluate advanced recycled polyester, including Sysav’s automatic sorting of post-consumer textiles and Ioniqa’s recycling process to obtain high-purity polyester fibres.

1 For details of our material basket please see our Sustainability Disclosure.
2 For a full list of our goals and information on our progress please see our Sustainability Disclosure.

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.