Why high street fashion retailer H&M is committed to smarter energy use and switching to 100% renewables

Reading time: 2 minutes
6 March 2018

International fashion retailer H&M group is committed to achieving a climate positive value chain by 2040. Here, Emilio Guzman, Sustainability Business Expert, H&M group explains why making smarter use of energy and switching to renewables are two important steps towards this goal.

    At H&M group, by decoupling the growth of our business from our resource use, we can continue to provide good, fair jobs and sustainable products for millions of people for years to come. Delivering on our ambition to achieve a climate positive value chain by 2040 will be good for business, and it means H&M group will save more greenhouse gas emissions than our value chain emits.

    To help achieve our goal, H&M group joined The Climate Group’s EP100 initiative in April last year, pledging to double our energy productivity by 2030. We believe that the best energy is the energy we do not use, so setting a target to reduce our consumption seemed obvious.

    In the last year, we’ve targeted low hanging fruit, like ensuring unused lighting and equipment are switched off outside of working hours and installing LED lighting in our new stores. We’ve also started retrofitting and upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and lighting controls in our more mature markets.

    Going forward, we’ll be investing heavily in innovative, energy-saving technologies, to build stores using 40% less energy than those constructed today. We also aim to reduce energy use in our logistics, transport and warehouses.


    We’ve only been in EP100 for one year, but our energy costs are already going down. Electricity is our largest expense within the management of our facilities, so by working to optimise our energy use, we’re generating immediate benefits from both a financial and sustainability perspective.

    We were the first international fashion retailer to join EP100 and we want to inspire others to follow. By doubling the economic output from every unit of energy consumed, EP100 members are demonstrating clear climate leadership while setting themselves up for financial savings.


    We’re increasing awareness and understanding among our own staff which they can carry into their everyday lives.

    But we’re not stopping there. Like most major retailers, our supply chain accounts for most of our emissions. That’s why we aim to enrol all our suppliers and factories into an energy efficiency program by 2025. We have to bring them up to the same ambitious standards as we have set for ourselves.  

    We envisage a climate neutral supply chain for our first and second-tier suppliers by 2030. So far, we have already reduced greenhouse gas emissions at a factory level in Bangladesh, China, India, and Turkey.


    We are, of course, also one of the pioneer companies in RE100 – The Climate Group’s renewable energy initiative – and we’re already sourcing over 90% of our electricity from renewables. EP100 and RE100 are complementary commitments; EP100 drives us to reduce our consumption and get more for less, while RE100 sees us source electricity from clean energy. It makes sense to become a leader at both.

    Alongside the work H&M group is doing inside our own operations and facilities, we’re also backing natural and technological carbon sinks – measures that help to bolster nature’s existing mechanisms to absorb greenhouse gases. This means helping to protect rainforests and investing in more sustainable agriculture.

    We are determined to lead the fashion industry in the drive towards achieving climate positive, sustainable fashion – and we call on other leading businesses to get on board.

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