In major fashion news, H&M is negotiating with Slow Factory for a new sustainability project. The Swedish-based retailer — that has been criticized over the years for their fast fashion reputation —is in talks to work with the NYC-based non-profit organization for a five-year plan centered on human rights and climate change.
According to the press release, the five pillars for the new program are powering Slow Factory’s education system Open Edu from 2023 to 2024, using waste as a resource, finding ways to divert from fossil fuels, investing in the future with an Open Edu program for kids, and establishing a data-based process to measure and reflect upon impact. Slow Factory has also invited H&M to join their Fund for Systemic Change, which is an objective to raise $100 million to enact systemic change in the fashion industry.
Some solutions posited by the organization include implementing changes to business practices including those relating to materials, technology, human rights, and culture, though specific measurements were not disclosed in the press release.
Per the statement, this comes as a result of H&M employees voting to utilize their “employee activism” fund to support the Slow Factory. In the press release, H&M North America’s Head of Sustainability, Abi Kammerzell says, “The way fashion and clothes have been produced and consumed must change, and we at H&M are in a unique position to drive and foster that change. Supporting Slow Factory has inspired new energy and opportunities in North America to accelerate our transformation to a circular business. Listening and collaborating with others is key to creating a positive impact for people and the planet and we are so proud of our colleagues for acting on their values and voting to support the critical work Slow Factory is doing.”
Similarly, Slow Factory founder Céline Semaan says, “We have seen a lot of efforts acting as band-aid solutions rather than addressing directly harmful systemic issues, it’s time to focus on systemic change by funding systemic solutions. True transformation happens when systems literacy becomes the norm and where funding follows the values brands have. We are thrilled to be able to transform this industry by working with everyone interested in systemic change.”
H&M also just recently announced a collaboration with former Teen Vogue editor Eva Chen for a sustainable clothing line for children, making the latest of their sustainability efforts this year.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect clarifications from the organization.