WWF and H&M have been working together for a number of years and in 2011, a formal collaboration was initiated to assess all water-related aspects of the H&M value chain using WWF’s Water Stewardship and Water Risk Filter tools. The analysis included a comprehensive evaluation of all H&M’s efforts and challenges related to water including agricultural production of fibres, as well as dyeing and washing processes. The review formed the basis of a new holistic water strategy for H&M.
In December 2012, the organisations signed a three year partnership agreement to expand this partnership. WWF and H&M will work together to raise awareness and improve responsible water use throughout the supply chain – ensuring H&M becomes a leader in water stewardship in the fashion industry and inspire others to follow.
This is the first global water partnership of its kind, and a game changer, as it takes the whole supply chain into account and goes far beyond the factory lines.
Why We Have Partnered
The textile industry is an important focus area for WWF; as raw materials and processing locations are often based in some of the world’s most water stressed and polluted river basins. The partnership will inspire other companies in the sector - and beyond – that to focus on water-responsible practices and projects based on a holistic assessment is a feasible and a commercially valuable undertaking.
WWF and H&M have a shared interest in reducing consumption of natural resources - and water is a strong bridge that connects us. Water is an important resource in textile production as well as being essential for biodiversity which is at the heart of WWF’s mission. Furthermore, reducing negative water impacts is not something a single company or organisation can do, but with a collective approach we can achieve a lot more.
How We Are Working Together
Broad commitment from suppliers and other stakeholders
The partnership will include activities in five steps of the WWF Water Stewardship process. It will target suppliers, staff, consumers, governments and other stakeholders.
1. Water awareness amongst staff, suppliers, and the general public with focused and targeted communications activities.
2. Measuring impacts to capture high quality data, to allow H&M to understand water risk and performance across all its operations and supply chain.
3. Internal action:
- Within H&M supply chain: moving towards better water stewardship practices, minimizing suppliers’ impact on water.
- Within H&M´s own operations: making all relevant changes to the company’s internal structures to ensure implementation of good water stewardship practices, setting extended targets for water impact reduction, effective stakeholder engagement and moving towards sourcing more sustainable raw materials beyond existing targets.
- Working together on collective stakeholder engagement and water management forums in prioritized river basins (Yangtze in China and Ganges/Brahmaputra in Bangladesh).
- Global stakeholder platforms, such as CEO Water Mandate, and industry platforms, such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
- Working together with the Better Cotton Initiative platform.
Water Stewardship can be described as actions made by companies who seek to improve the efficiency and cleanliness of their internal operations and in their supply chain, while also facilitating the sustainable management of shared freshwater resources through collaboration with other businesses, governments, NGOs, communities, and others.
About WWF’s business engagement
WWF engages in strategic and innovative business partnerships with the world's largest international corporations and major national companies in order to help them reduce their ecological footprint and make a positive contribution to the environment. Partnerships are based on a common vision of a better future, as WWF believes that partners can achieve more by working collaboratively. WWF's approach to working with business is solutions-oriented, cooperative in its methods and challenging in its objectives.
H&M was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. The business concept is to offer fashion and quality at the best price. In addition to H&M, H&M Group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, & Other Stories as well as H&M Home. The H&M Group has around 2,700 stores in 48 markets including franchise markets, and about 94,000 employees globally.