By Dieter Holger
Online shoppers at H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB (HM-B.SK) can now learn about the origins of clothes they peruse, marking the latest move by the company to improve transparency around its supply chain.
Shoppers on H&M's 47 local websites can view additional details on materials used in garments and the factories they come from, including the numbers of workers. For instance, a note on products that are made with polyester explains how the material is made from fossil fuels, and how H&M plans to use 100% recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030.
Another note encourages shoppers to bring unwanted garments into stores for recycling or reuse. Just 1.4% of the materials H&M used in 2018 were recycled, up from 0.5% in 2017.
Customers in stores will also be able to see more details about the clothes for sale by scanning the price tag using the H&M app.
"We are so proud to be the first global fashion retailer of our size to launch this level of product transparency," said Isak Roth, head of sustainability at H&M.
The decision comes as shoppers grow more aware of the downsides of fast-fashion--inexpensive clothes made by low-wage workers that are typically worn for a short time before going to landfill. In the past 15 years, clothing production has roughly doubled mostly thanks to fast-fashion.
Less than 1% of the materials used to make clothes is recycled into new garments, representing a loss of more than $100 billion each year, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The foundation works with businesses to accelerate the use of more reusable and recycled products.
"By being open and transparent about where our products are made we hope to set the bar for our industry and encourage customers to make more sustainable choices," Mr. Roth said.
Write to Dieter Holger at email@example.com; @dieterholger