With 54.8 out of 100 points, H&M is the fifth best performer and leading the way in addressing sustainability issues within cotton cultivation. H&M is a member of several standards and initiatives including BCI, OCA and Textile Exchange. H&M is one of the only companies that publishes not only a list of its tier-1 suppliers but also those found deeper in the supply chain. This makes the company a frontrunner in the area of supply chain transparency.
H&M acknowledges the negative environmental impacts of cotton cultivation and states that 'there is a lot we can do to improve our use of cotton'. H&M has set a goal of using 100% cotton from more sustainable sources by 2020. Although most of efforts relate to BCI membership, the company has a clear intent to reduce water use throughout the supply chain, including the cotton cultivation stage. H&M is also one of the biggest users of organic cotton. Several recycling initiatives are in place under different H&M brands. H&M policy forbids suppliers from using cotton originating in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan or Syria. It is unclear whether H&M group performs any other due diligence with regard to human rights issues at the level of cotton cultivation.
H&M increased its uptake of more sustainable cotton from 30% in 2016 to 43% in 2017. This includes organic cotton, Better Cotton and recycled cotton.
While H&M is a clear leader in providing in-depth insights into its supply chain for finished products (98.5%) and yarn and fabric manufacturing (60%), it does not report countries of origin nor the total volume of cotton used.