H&M has made detailed supply chain information available on all of its products, both in-store and online. Every garment now includes details such as production country, supplier names, factory names and addresses, as well as the materials used to making the clothing.
The information is available online on each item’s page and in-store through the H&M app, which lets shoppers scan price tags to see the relevant details. The tools build on the retailer’s previous sustainability efforts, which included publishing its supplier list in 2013 and the launch of Conscious Exclusive collections in 2017.
“By being open and transparent about where our products are made we hope to set the bar for our industry and encourage customers to make more sustainable choices,” said Isak Roth, Head of Sustainability at H&M in a statement. “With transparency comes responsibility, making transparency such an important factor to help create a more sustainable fashion industry.”
Other retailers have made moves toward greater sustainability as well, particularly in the fashion industry. Executives from Eileen Fisher and Coyuchi discussed the trend during a panel at NRF 2019, noting that while sustainability can’t make up a brand’s entire identity, it offers significant benefits to companies willing to embrace the concept.
Sustainability also ties into rental services such as Coyuchi For Life. The program offers subscribers new towels, sheets and duvets every six, 12 or 24 months via a monthly fee, and gives them “return kits” to return their old selections. From there, Coyuchi renews, upcycles or recycles the returned goods.
Multiple environmentally friendly benefits can each enhance a brand’s overall value proposition. While an organic message alone doesn’t stand out anymore, it can make a sustainably-farmed and transparently tracked item that much more appealing.
“It’s important to point out that we that we can’t compete with just an organic message,” said Eileen Mockus, CEO of Coyuchi in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Customers want everything they would want in a conventional product; it’s an added value that it’s also organic. Our product is high-quality organic cotton, with certified processing, and we make sure that’s highlighted in communications that the customer is receiving. The monthly charge is tied to their sleep and bath environments, and we talk about it as the everyday luxury that you bring into your life.”