However, popular cotton is, we must remember it takes a lot of water to produce. It can take more than 20,000 litres of water to produce one single T-shirt or a pair of jeans. Cotton farming is the most water draining factor in our supply chain. Despite this, there is a lot we can do to improve our use of cotton. Currently, sustainably sourced cotton represent 43% of our entire cotton use. Our aim is for all cotton in our range to come from sustainable sources by 2020 – organic cotton, recycled cotton or Better Cotton. In October 2017 the H&M group was ranked in the category Leading the Way by the Sustainable Cotton Ranking, a collaboration between Solidaridad, WWF and Pesticide Action Network UK.
"The H&M group is one of the leading users of organic cotton in the world."
Organic cotton is grown without chemical pesticides and fertilisers, and contains no genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This is good for the farmers and the environment – and also for you. Whenever you see one of our products made using organic cotton, it means the cotton has been grown according to a strict standard and checked by an independent certification body.
Recycled cotton comes from old garments and textile leftovers, which are ground into fibres, spun into new yarns and woven into new fabrics. Our use of recycled cotton is constantly growing, which means we can both save on raw materials and stop old clothes from going to waste. We make sure that everything we label as ‘made from recycled cotton’ is certified by a third party.
Better Cotton Initiative
The H&M group is an active member of the Better Cotton Initiative, BCI. BCI is a non-profit organisation, helping farmers to grow cotton reducing stress on the local environment and improves the livelihoods and welfare of farming communities. In 2015, BCI achieved its goal of training 1 million farmers in harvesting cotton with less water and chemicals, in collaboration with partners such as WWF and Solidaridad. The next BCI goal is to train 5 million farmers and produce 30% of global cotton production by 2020.