H&M has been praised by several people for its commitment to putting out fairly-produced clothing items which don’t pose a significant risk to the environment. The retailer stresses its commitment to creating sustainable products and even puts out a yearly sustainability report in order to encourage transparency and let the people know the steps it’s taking to make a positive impact.
An infographic from its latest report boasts all of H&M’s impressive accomplishments in the area of social and environmental sustainability. Highlights include signing the Bangladesh Building Accord, donating over 3.5 million old clothes to charity and its liberal use of recycled polyester. But a commitment to such a noble purpose doesn’t come without cost. Karl-Johan Persson, H&M’s president and CEO, told the Washington Post, “All other things equal, profits would be higher. But we believe in the long-term business case. We sacrifice short-term gains.”
Right now, H&M supports fair wage and working condition initiatives, and has partnered with WWF for the past three years on clean water initiatives. In addition, its foundation supports educational and women’s empowerment projects. Sure, it’s costing money, but being on the right side of history and affecting positive change in the retail sector seems to be more of a concern. “Higher wages equal higher prices,” Persson said, noting that H&M is already making up the difference with its own money, so the consumer doesn’t have to.