Fash Mash Pioneers. Rachel Arthur [left] and Anna Gedda [right]
FashMash Pioneers: Sustainability applied to fast fashion with H&M
Supplycompass went to Facebook's HQ to listen to H&M’s Anna Gedda in conversation with FashMash founder, Rachel Arthur. Gedda, who was appointed Head of Sustainability for the H&M group in 2015, outlined the company’s ambitious goal to be using 100% organic cotton by 2020 and 100% recycled fabrics by 2030.
Gedda, who started off her career working for the UN, spoke of 1997 as the turning point within fashion industry for her. Supply chains made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the likes of Nike had its reputation tarnished when it was publicly shamed for bad labour practices within their global supply chains [they have since cleaned up their act].
Change is happening not just with fashion brands, but also with governments and consumer mindsets. However, Gedda says there is still “a disconnect between what consumers say and what consumers do". She is confident about the consumers of the future who she believes will act and purchase more sustainably.
H&M has been at the forefront of the movement towards greater supply chain transparency, their supplier list was famously kept under lock and key and is now publicly available for all to see on their website. Transparency is a great starting point, but Gedda maintains that for real change to happen, “better collaboration with other brands, with suppliers and with governments is needed”.
For H&M, materials are their core focus currently, placing emphasis on seeking out commercially viable sustainable materials and supporting the latest innovations within this field. Gedda feels the main challenges for H&M to make sustainably at scale, is the difficulty around co-ordinating the latest innovations and inventions. She says a better eco-system and a larger platform from which innovation can happen and grow is what is really needed. The future? Gedda is excited by fibre to fibre recycling, the possibility of fully dissolving garments at the end of their life recreating new fibres out of them for new products.
Arket is one of the brands within the H&M group that focuses on working with sustainable materials and offering shoppers greater transparency. On each product page shoppers can learn more about the material and the manufacturer.