When I was recently offered the opportunity to take on the role as CEO, I already had a clear mission for our sustainability work – to put it at the heart of how we operate and develop the group. Having once been Head of Sustainability in this company, I know the importance of environmental protection, people empowerment and industry transparency to build a sustainable business. These areas are not only close to my heart but very much part of my business perspective.
To put sustainability at the core of our business is a big opportunity to accelerate the pace of change. We need to transform our business moving forward – to secure that we continue to be successful in the future, but also to serve a greater purpose as a company. In order to build a sustainable future, we will have to find new ways. It will require us to rethink how we operate. We will have to develop new technologies, new business models, new processes and a new type of customer relations.
At H&M Group, we are continually working to make our business model more sustainable to secure long-term growth and, at the same time, make a positive contribution to the world.
To us, this means creating decent and meaningful jobs and promoting inclusiveness and diversity. It means becoming climate positive throughout our entire value chain by 2040, as well as achieving circularity.
Accelerating our agenda to become a circular business is one of our key focuses. We don’t have all the answers ourselves, but by teaming up with – and investing in – pioneering companies that develop ground-breaking technologies, such as Re:newcell or Infinited Fiber Company, we can scale innovations and reinvent fashion together.
I’m confident that our close collaborations with organisations such as the Ellen McArthur Foundation, WWF, IndustriAll, the UN Global Compact and many others will continue to inspire us, help us find even more solutions to transform ourselves and share best practice with both partners and competitors.
As we finalise this report, the spread of COVID-19 is affecting people, communities and businesses all over the world. Now, more than ever before, we are pulling together as one team, supporting each other and the communities around us as much as we can – while working to secure our business through these challenging times. We don’t yet know the full extent to which this crisis will impact our business and wider society. Being in the eye of the storm, it can be difficult to picture what the world will look like after everything has settled. But the recent development also shows us that the transformation journey we are on is crucial for us to remain relevant in the long-run and beyond a crisis like this one. Our challenges may be complex, but the high ambitions and solid work described in the following pages keep me inspired and positive about the future.
Helena Helmersson, CEO, H&M Group