Packaging helps us get our products to our customers safely, reducing damage, waste and disappointment. But our packaging shouldn’t cause more damage than it prevents.
From its raw materials to how it is made, used and disposed of, traditional packaging is a burden on the environment. Our planet is paying the price and our industry needs to do things differently.
That’s why we are working to change the way we package our products, what we make our packaging from and what happens to our packaging after it has done its job.
To safeguard resources, stop using fossil fuels, protect our natural environment and to minimise waste, we’re setting tough goals and targets to reduce the amount and impact of the packaging we use as well as making sure it never becomes waste.
By working with others, like The New Plastic Economy from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Fashion Pact and the Pack4Good initiative by Canopy, we can drive real change across all industries.
To reduce our impact we are working to:
REDUCE unnecessary and problematic packaging, including single-use plastic packaging, wherever possible.
INNOVATE and find new ways to package our products, by applying circular design and by using more sustainable materials.
RE-USE our packaging in a sustainable way such as re-using and recycling.
Make less packaging to save resources, minimise damage and reduce waste.
- Reduce packaging across our value chain 25% by 2025 (2018 baseline), including an absolute reduction in plastic packaging of 25% by 2025 (2018 baseline).
- Eliminate unnecessary and problematic packaging
- Replace single-use packaging with reusable alternatives wherever possible
Make better packaging through smart design and sustainable materials.
- 100% of packaging made from recycled or other sustainably sourced material by 2030
- All packaging designed to be reusable or recyclable by 2025
Make sure our packaging is put to good use once it has done its job.
- Re-use or recycle 100% of packaging waste from our own sites by 2025
The problem with plastic
Plastic is one of the biggest challenges facing the fashion industry. It is not only used in synthetic materials such as polyester, but also in hangers, hang tags, single use shopping bags and polybags.
Plastic packaging is sometimes necessary to keep products safe and secure reducing waste and customer disappointment. But how can we prevent packaging from becoming waste itself and at the same time deliver top-quality products?
Most plastic ends up in landfills or in the ocean today, which is harmful to our planet. To stop this happening, we need to stop producing single-use plastic wherever possible.
And when we can’t avoid using plastic, i.e. for beauty products, we need to make sure it is safe and that it doesn’t become waste. That means finding innovative ways to produce it without using hazardous materials and making sure it is easy to reuse or recycle.
What we’re doing about plastic
We’re working to reduce the impact our packaging has on the environment. So far, we have:
- Identified the different plastics we use in packaging to plan how we phase out the most problematic. To start, we aim to eliminate polystyrene plastic by 2023.
- Replaced plastic shopping bags with certified paper options in most stores and introduced a charge in several countries to incentive customers to use their own bags.
- Started phasing out non-recyclable hangers and replacing them with ones made of recyclable, bio composite that will be reused.
- Started eliminating plastic polybags from online deliveries for COS, &Other Stories, MONKI, Weekday and ARKET.
- Begun phasing out mixed materials in gift boxes and packs for our beauty products, removing all the plastic components.
- Initiated a move from plastic boxes to reusable pouches for make-up tools.
Swapping plastic for paper
Our newest packaging initiative is an important step towards becoming circular and achieving net-zero emissions. Swapping single-use plastic for more sustainable paper for online orders means we can get our products to our customers without using problematic plastic that is not always recyclable.
Our new multi-brand paper packaging system is recyclable and made from certified paper. Because the packaging is neutral our brands can easily adapt the labels to their needs, which eliminates waste from outdated packaging.
Products can be packed with minimum air, so they take up less space during transport. And once customers receive their product safely, they can easily recycle the packaging.
At H&M Group, we are determined to drive change in our industry, but we can’t do it alone. Even though we have set clear goals and are on track to meet them we need to collaborate with others to really make a difference – together.
When it comes to packaging our biggest partners are the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Fashion Pact and Canopy, which drives the Pack4Good initiative.
How we work with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
To fight plastic pollution, we have signed The New Plastic Economy − Global Commitment.
This initiative promotes the replacement of single-use plastic packaging with reusable alternatives where possible, and the elimination of all problematic or unnecessary plastic.
By 2025 we will have reduced plastic packaging by 25% (2018 baseline), replace, and ensure that at least 25% of the plastic we use is from post-consumer recycled materials.
How we work with Fashion Pact
Fashion Pact is a global coalition of companies in the fashion and textile industry (ready-to-wear, sport, lifestyle and luxury) committed to key environmental goals in three areas: stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.
As part of the Fashion Pact we have committed to:
- Eliminating unnecessary and problematic plastic in consumer packaging by the end of 2025 and in business-to-business packaging by 2030
- Use 50% pre and post recycled plastic in consumer packaging by 2025 and in business-to-business packaging by 2030.
How we work with Pack4Good
Any single-use packaging, whether plastic or paper, affects ecosystems throughout its lifecycle —from extraction to disposal. That is why we support the Pack4Good initiative by our partner Canopy, which works with the forestry industry’s biggest customers and their suppliers to develop business solutions that protect last-frontier forests.
Our commitments include:
- Ensuring our paper-based packaging excludes fibre sourced from ancient and endangered forests by the end of 2022
- Prioritising innovative packaging design to reduce the amount of material needed
- Giving preference to paper-based packaging with high-recycled content, especially from post-consumer sources
OUR PACKAGING GOALS