News Article

H&M Group is using its influence to push for mandatory biodiversity disclosure targets

WWF’s latest Living Planet Report has once again highlighted the need for urgent action to mitigate the global loss of biodiversity. Since 1970, wildlife populations have declined on average by 69%, and around 1 million species are already at risk of extinction. For more than a decade, H&M Group and WWF have been working collaboratively on creating a more sustainable fashion industry. Today, the partnership encompasses the interconnected areas of water, climate and biodiversity.

This week, experts, policy makers and other stakeholders meet in Montreal, Canada for COP15, the UN Biodiversity Conference 2022.  In focus: a new global biodiversity framework consisting of targets and milestones to guide worldwide action on biodiversity between today and 2030. Together with its partners WWF, Business for Nature and others, H&M Group acknowledges the urgent need for an agreement to an effective, meaningful and ambitious framework that drives action by governments, business and all parts of society – similar to the Paris climate agreement in 2015.

As a global fashion retailer, we need to take responsibility in halting and reversing biodiversity loss and collaborating with others to accelerate the change. We support an ambitious Target 15 at COP15 that makes it mandatory for all companies to assess and disclose their impact and dependencies on nature.

Helena Helmersson, CEO H&M Group

Using its influence to push for these mandatory targets and inviting other industry peers to follow, H&M Group supports Business for Nature’s Make It Mandatory campaign. More than 330 businesses have joined this call to action towards governments to make companies disclose their impact on nature. Being aware that the sourcing of raw materials is one of the company’s biggest impacts on biodiversity, H&M Group is transitioning to become a circular business and working towards its ambitious goal to only source recycled or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030.

Together with WWF, H&M Group is engaging in projects close to its value chain to conserve and restore biodiversity in key landscapes. The joint projects include the support of smallholders growing cotton in India to adopt nature-friendly agriculture practices in a critical wildlife corridor, as well as working with sheep farmers in the Drakensberg grasslands in South Africa to produce more sustainable wool through grazing and farm management that regenerates nature. Recognizing its impact beyond H&M Group’s own value chain, H&M Group also wants to contribute to the wider agenda on environmental issues. In the lead up to COP15, H&M Group, IKEA and WWF co-authored an open letter to highlight the importance of an ambitious Global Framework for biodiversity, including some key elements to drive faster business actions in this area.

With the aim to develop scalable models of how to work with farmers to deliver positive land management with conservation, restoration, and regenerative outcomes, H&M Group is furthermore working together with BKB Ltd, the largest broker in South Africa. H&M Group sources the majority of wool for its products from South African farms certified with the Responsible Wool Standard.  The joint work between BKB and H&M Group aims to serve not only as an opportunity to implement regeneration and restoration on the farms, but also to help fine-tune a methodology that can be taken beyond the project footprint.

For H&M Group, biodiversity and climate are interconnected. Therefore, the company follows a holistic approach working towards its goals to achieve net-zero emissions and to contribute to the global goals of reaching positive impact on nature.

To continue going beyond its active work on emission reductions and decreasing its impact on biodiversity within the value chain, H&M Group recently also joined LEAF Coalition. The purpose of this public-private initiative is to mobilize large-scale financing for countries committed to making ambitious reductions in tropical deforestation.. Urgently ending tropical deforestation is a crucial part of meeting the global climate goal, while also supporting sustainable development and enhancing biodiversity. To date, LEAF Coalition has mobilized more than $1.5 billion in results-based payment commitments.

At H&M Group we are fully committed to do our part in fighting climate change and protecting nature. Our priority is to address the emissions in our value chain with a target of 56% absolute reductions by 2030. In addition, we also need to ensure that raw materials we source, such as viscose, are sourced in a way that protect nature and biodiversity. But we know that successfully meeting the global climate goal require us to in parallel invest in climate and nature beyond our value chain. Protecting tropical forests offers one of the biggest opportunities for reducing emissions in the coming decade but it has to be done right. We chose to join the LEAF Coalition specifically because of its commitment to high integrity and ambition to drive change at scale.

Leyla Ertur, Head of Sustainability H&M Group