The H&M Group has come a long way since it was founded in 1947 with the first Hennes store opening in Västerås, Sweden. According to the company’s website, this retailer provided “frequently updated fashion at affordable prices.” The “M” was added in the 60’s and the retailer began carrying products for men, youth and babies. By the 90’s the brand was available online. By 2013 there are H&M stores in Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and Australia.
Today, H&M is expanding with new stores in Colombia and Kazakhstan and plans to expand with stores in Iceland, Vietnam and Georgia this year. H&M online will also reach new audiences in Turkey, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia.
In addition to growth in new markets, the company is also focused on sustainability and global responsibility. H&M is a member of The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative that commits businesses to renewable power. But H&M is going one step further as the first international fashion retailer to join The Climate Group’s EP100 initiative “that encourages influential businesses to double the economic output from every unit of energy consumed.” H&M Group is taking these steps to reduce their climate impact. They even won the Global Change
Award in 2015 for innovations such as textiles from citrus juice by-products and an online marketplace for textile leftovers. The WWF International believes, H&M will “lead by example and to inspire the industry about what can and should be done to address key issues, such as climate impact and water scarcity.”
According to their 2016 Annual Report, 96% of the electricity used in 2016 was renewable. The report also states that the “H&M group is one of the world’s largest users of organic cotton, recycled polyester and lyocell, and is the world’s largest user of responsibly produced down.”
H&M aims “to make sure to always stay ahead of trends and offer our customers fashion and quality at the best price, in a sustainable way.” These efforts are good for the environment but are also making a positive impact for the company in the eyes of consumers. Despite any up front costs the company may incur, they will reap the benefits in the future with reduced energy costs and increased public opinion.