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Climate Savers Q&A: H&M’s vision to be Climate Positive by 2040

  • Date: 22 May 2018
  • Author: Pernilla Halldin, Global Public Affairs, H&M

WWF’s Climate Savers program enables companies to work with individual WWF country offices to set and achieve climate goals while also enabling best practice sharing and support across companies and countries. While at the Climate Savers Summit in Washington, DC from May 15-16, representatives from 17 companies and eight WWF country offices came together to do just that. During the Summit, Pernilla Halldin of H&M’s Global Public Affairs team shared insights into trends in and approaches to corporate engagement on climate policy. With their headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, H&M works with WWF-Sweden and Climate Savers as part of their efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from their operations. Below Pernilla provides more on how H&M views its role in building a climate positive future.

Pernilla Halldin, H&M

Why does H&M care about reducing carbon emissions?

It is a question of survival for the planet. Governments and policy makers will need to set a direction and force us all to go in the right direction. We don’t want to wait for that. We want to take a leadership position; and therefore, we have set the vision to be Climate Positive by 2040. We truly believe this transformation will be positive for our business.

What climate goals has H&M been focused on, and what are you doing to reach them?

Our overarching and long-term goal is to become Climate Positive by 2040 in our whole value chain, and that goes from the cotton fields to your washing machine. To reach this goal we focus on three areas - energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate resilience.

How has working with World Wildlife Fund helped H&M reach its climate goals?

It is always good to have someone who can see you from the outside and who has other knowledge and expertise than you do internally. WWF and Climate Savers are a great partner in that sense. We are having open discussions, and they challenge and support us in our way forward. One important project is the development of our approach to climate resilience.

What actions would you like to see your industry adopt to curb climate change?

Climate goals can’t be reached by one player. We always need to cooperate. To change policies and regulation to encourage or force changes towards 100% renewable energy systems is something we need to do together. Another example is our supply chain, we share our suppliers with many other companies, and we need to cooperate to make the supply chain climate neutral.

What advice do you have for companies just starting their climate journeys? 

  1. Understand your impact in the whole value chain. When we look at our value chain we see that the supply chain stands for 75 percent of our CO2 emissions, customer use is 20 percent, and the store operation, offices, warehouses and transport is 5 percent. Put your focus on the right things.
  2. Remember that it is a long-term journey where you improve step by step.
  3. Have a constant dialogue with stakeholders and experts to understand their approach to your business. That will help you see your work from different angles.