Transparency is more important than ever. Demands to disclose information publicly in an honest and accountable way are increasing. At H&M Group, transparency means sharing clear, accurate and relevant information about our supply chain, our products, and our business standards and policies.
Transparency has always been a key part of our sustainability strategy and we have been committed to increasing our level of transparency for many years. H&M was one of the first big brands to make its supplier list public in 2013 and we have continued to increase the amount of information we share ever since.
We believe transparency is key to driving sustainable change across our industry because it creates both comparability and accountability. Transparency empowers customers to make more informed purchasing decisions. It also empowers businesses, including ours, to make better-informed decisions that will improve sustainability performance and drive positive change.
There is still a long way to go, and the fashion industry is coming under greater scrutiny, but we are fully committed to our transparency work and the positive change it is creating.
Supply-chain transparency is about disclosing the details of facilities involved in the manufacturing and production of garments.
Our supplier list, which was first published in 2013, maps and shares the details of our tier 1 suppliers, accounting for 99% of relevant production volume in 2022.
Information shared includes name, location, address and number of workers per facility. This information meets the standards for supply chain disclosure set out by Transparency Pledge, to which we aligned in 2017. We also share data relating to worker representation and gender breakdown per facility.
We are continuously working to share more supplier information with the ambition to enable full supply-chain transparency.
Product transparency means sharing information about how, where and what a product is made from. It’s also about disclosing data relating to the environmental and social impact of a product.
In 2019, H&M became the largest global fashion retailer to share product transparency information detailing where every product was made. This information is available at www.hm.com for H&M products and includes the name, address & location of the manufacturing factory, as well as material composition.
Supply chain traceability and transparency should go hand-in-hand to create greater accountability for where materials and products come from, and drive positive change in the fashion industry.
What is traceability?
Traceability means the ability to track the origin or location of our materials and products, and to connect this to the relevant data. Supply chain transparency is sharing this information publicly. Both traceability and transparency are vital components of a responsible and sustainable value chain. This is why we have clear routines and procedures that help us verify our materials to make sure they meet our sustainability policies.
To keep improving our traceability, we need to collaborate. We can have greater impact by working together within, and across, industries to come up with shared solutions. In 2020, we started working with TextileGenesis* on a pilot using their traceability platform, which tracks and verifies the use of sustainable fibres using blockchain technology. In 2022, we rolled out the project to all man-made cellulosic fibres and recycled polyester. At the beginning of 2023, we were in the process of tracing more than 200 million pieces through our supply chain.
New technology as an enabler
Across the fashion industry, brands are testing and implementing lots of exciting technologies such as fingerprint technologies, DNA testing and other raw material tracers. But supply chains are complex and seldom static, and one-time mapping is not enough. We believe that combining new technology with online shared–industry databases can drastically increase supply chain traceability and at H&M Group we are committed to developing our work in this area.
Standards and policies
Disclosure of our business standards and policies is vital to our transparency work. It enables open access to the rules and regulations that we adhere to, ensuring that we operate our business in the right way for people and the planet.
Sharing information about business standards and policies creates accountability and drives responsibility.
Find out more about our Standards & Policies.
For a long time, the fashion industry has lacked a standardised assessment tool for sustainability performance. Companies have used different ways to define, measure and communicate their actions and achievements, which has made comparison difficult and caused customer confusion.
To address this problem, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition has released a Brand and Retail Module (BRM) as part of their Higg Index suite of tools. BRM is an assessment tool that helps brands and retailers to track their environmental and social sustainability performance in a uniform way. H&M disclosed their scores in 2021 and 2022.2
1 In 2020, Textile Genesis was one of five winners of the Global Change Award from H&M Foundation. The winners shared €1m and took part in a one-year accelerator programme.
2 See our Sustainability Disclosure, page 14 for details of H&M’s BRM scores in 2021 and 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.