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WWF and H&M Group

Partnering on water, climate and biodiversity

The partnership between WWF and H&M Group is founded on a joint vision for a sustainable future for people and nature. The purpose is to address key environmental impacts in the H&M Group’s value chain, with a special focus on water, biodiversity and climate. Our work also aims to lead and inspire other companies within the fashion industry but also beyond, towards solutions that keep within the boundaries of our planet.

About the partnership

H&M Group and WWF entered a partnership in 2011, focusing on Water Stewardship. The partnership was the first of its kind, as it took the whole supply chain into account and went far beyond the factory lines. The aim was to raise awareness, to improve responsible water use throughout H&M Group’s entire supply chain and to inspire other companies to take action toward more responsible water management.

In 2016, the partnership expanded to also include climate action and a strategic dialogue related to H&M Group’s and the fashion industry’s broader sustainability challenges and opportunities – marking one more important step towards a more sustainable fashion industry. In April 2017, H&M Group announced a new climate strategy that had been developed in collaboration with WWF and also entered into WWF’s global programme Climate Savers.

Why we have partnered

The textile industry is an important focus area for WWF as raw materials and processing locations are often based in some of the world’s most water stressed and polluted river basins. The textile supply chains are also often based in countries where a high share of fossil energy is used.

By working together, combining expertise and leadership and taking a holistic approach on water, climate and strategic decisions, H&M Group and WWF have the potential to accomplish real change – within H&M Group’s organization and beyond. As H&M Group is a leading player in the fashion industry, they have the position to influence suppliers, customers and other brands in their industry to become more sustainable. Further, the partnership wants to showcase to other companies, within the textile sector and beyond, that focusing on more sustainable practices is both feasible and valuable for business.

WWF & H&M Project Map

Karl-Johan Persson –  Photo: H&MGroup

”Thanks to our size and to our committed colleagues, H&M Group is fit to lead the change towards a more sustainable fashion future. However, this is not a task that we can manage on our own; collaboration, new-ways of working and joint industry goals are key for accelerating the changes and results needed.”

Karl-Johan Persson, Chairman of the Board, H&M Group

Learn more about the partnership work

How we work together


Due to the textile industry’s freshwater challenges WWF and H&M Group has since the start of the partnership in 2011 been working together to improve water management in some of the worlds most stressed river basins. We have done this by working with Water Stewardship. 

Water Stewardship is a five-step model creating incentives to act on water use through engagement, better management and governance to protect the resources, species and nature. The Water Stewardship journey involves learning, acting, doing and improving.

Since 2011, WWF and H&M Group have been working according to WWF’s model for Water Stewardship using the five-step approach, targeting suppliers, staff, consumers, governments and other stakeholders. The work has involved developing H&M Group’s and their value chain’s water management as well as focusing on collective action and influence governance on the ground in countries such as China, Bangladesh and Turkey. The partnership has also included support for WWF’s water conservation projects in the Yangtze River basin. As H&M Group continues to develop the organization’s water practices, the main focus of the partnership is now on expanding the collective action and influence governance for a more sustainable textile industry across the globe, together with other companies, policymakers and civil society.

H&M Group both uses and contributes in the development of the WWF Water Risk Filter, an online tool that enable users to explore, assess, and respond to water risks. H&M Group regularly assess the water related aspects of their value chain of apparel & textile production including dyeing and washing processes through the Water Risk Filter. The overall water risk indicated by basin and company, for each of the business partners facilities of H&M Group, steer and guide to specific actions according to H&M Group’s Holistic Water Strategy to address the challenges.

Milestones and Results

  • Collective action plans for water risk mitigation are being set for all H&M Group production offices in water risk areas.
  • Advocacy & communication for SDG 6; the partnership calls global fashion brands to join a movement for defining textile industry best practice on water stewardship, globally.
  • Supported development of new function within the WWF Water Risk Filter that enables companies to quickly develop contextual water stewardship responses to their water related risks any basin.
  • Water awareness training for 75000 staff (from production office employees as well as sales and design functions).
  • Cleaner production program trained 2,636 workers in 270 production units across Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, India and Turkey.
  •  Developed Cleaner Production Guidelines for the textile industry in Turkey.
  • Water and chemical management standards were improved in over 500 suppliers, in the H&M Group Value Chain.
  • Connected 100 % of the direct suppliers and fabric mills involved in making 60 % of H&M Group’s products to supplier assessment systems through Higg FEM.
  •  Established a ground-breaking industrial park project in China, aiming to bring social, economic and ecological benefits to participating suppliers and the surrounding ecosystem. Long term, the project will serve as a model for similar industrial park areas.
  • Indicators for basin health monitoring was developed for Taihu basin in the Yangtze river, contributing to the survival of the endangered river porpoise and more sustainable practices used by farmers in the river basin.
  • Engaged policy makers for more sustainable water management in Bangladesh, with particular focus on creating and supporting a water governance work stream within the platform of 2030 Water Research Group.

Video: Making a Change Through Water Stewardship

How we work together

Climate action

In 2016, WWF and H&M Group expanded the partnership to include taking climate action. This means reducing the emissions from H&M Group and its value chain, as well as to inspire other companies within the textile sector and beyond.

In April 2017, H&M Group launched its new Climate Strategy and updated it in 2022. The overarching target is to become net-zero by 2040 in line with the criteria of the Science Based Targets Initiative. At the same date in April 2017, H&M Group also entered WWFs Global Climate Program: Climate Savers. As a member, H&M Group will work to achieve the intermediate climate goals and work to inspire other companies in their industry about their ambitions and achievements.

How We Work Together on Climate

H&M Group and WWF are working together towards implementing H&M’s ambitious climate strategy and scaling measurable solutions throughout the garment sector and business community, while stimulating others to do the same. Some of the activities that the climate stream will focus on are:

  1. Beyond-Net-Zero to support companies in implementing ambitious climate strategies to limit average global temperature increase to 1.5°C. This is done by outlining an ambitious pathway with detailed actions that guide companies towards and beyond net-zero.
  2. Direct Supplier Engagement to reduce emissions and impacts in line with H&M’s 2030 and 2040 targets, and to scale solutions within the sector and business community. We also explore synergies with the other partnership streams.
  3. Engaging Policy Makers and Sectoral Players related to H&M’s own operations and value chain to increase the shift towards a low-carbon economy.

Milestones and Results

  • Policy push in Brussels with the aim to encourage the European Parliament to vote for more renewable energy, more energy efficiency and a climate neutral EU by 205SBTi trainings0 at the latest. The final outcome was more ambitious than experts initially had forecasted. A true success for our joint intervention.
  •  H&M Group’s climate goals approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. This sets a ground for climate targets in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial temperatures.
  • SCALE – A programme in Cambodia where we are developing sustainable biomass solutions for the Cambodian textile sector and at the same time preserving biodiversity.
  • Clean Tech Programme in India investigates supplier climate action. Focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • We Are One Roof, project to examine the rooftop solar potential at H&M Group suppliers. The project runs in Bangladesh and Vietnam.
  • Beyond Net Zero guidance was launched in April 2022 during a live event with H&M Group, IKEA and WWF.
  • Together with H&M group, WWF has carried out SBTi tranings to H&M suppliers as well as other textile companies across 8 countries throughout 2022 

Beyond-Net-Zero Definition

The private sector has a critical role to drive and facilitate change towards a net-zero future in line with science and the Paris Agreement. A group of companies including H&M Group have together with WWF been working on developing the Beyond-Net-Zero-Guidance. It offers companies support to implement ambitious climate strategies and actions to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This includes halving emissions by 2030 and achieving a net-zero by 2050 at the latest. However, companies need to go beyond reductions and emissions to restore our climate. This includes financing and supporting additional climate and nature solutions, engaging actively in climate policy, collaborating with other companies and stakeholders, and enabling and inspiring customers.

To be a Corporate Climate Leader a Company Should:
  1. Account and Disclose consistently and transparently according to best available practices and against all commitments.
  2. Set climate targets in line with 1.5°C according to the SBTi near-term and Net-Zero criteria
  3. Reduce value chain emissions (scope 1-3) in line with the 1.5°C trajectory by at least halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2050 at the latest.
  4. Finance and support climate and nature solutions across and beyond the value chain.
  5. Engage responsibly and actively in climate policy in line with 1.5°C and ensure internal and external corporate policy alignment.
  6. Collaborate with value chain partners, peers, employees and other key stakeholders to overcome critical barriers to scaling climate action.
  7. Enable and Inspire customers through sustainable products and services, education and campaigns, and transparent and accessible information.

Read more here: wwf.panda.org/beyond-net-zero

Video: Climate Net-Zero


WWF and H&M Group Climate Talk on Earth Day 2020

Don’t miss this climate talk featuring Milan Kooijman, the WWF’s Climate Business Expert in conversation with and Kim Hellström, Strategy Lead CSR for the H&M Group. It was recorded during the COS Instagram live event for Earth Day 2020. On the agenda you find insights on the WWF and H&M Group partnership and hot topics such as climate action, biodiversity and ways we all can step up in reducing our carbon footprint.

Listen to it here: video

”Nature provides us with food, water and clean air for free and is an ally against climate change – but now we are on an unsustainable path, facing a climate crisis, mass extinction and a rapid loss of nature. If we take better care of our planet, it will give us better climate resilience and help us protect biodiversity. We hope this session can inspire taking action for a more sustainable future”.
– WWF Sweden

How we work together


Biodiversity underpins all life but is declining worldwide. There is a growing need to protect it, and the textile industry – with its impact on nature -has an important role to play. In 2016, the partnership started a strategic dialogue, where biodiversity became in focus through projects on materials and circularity. In 2020, the strategic dialogue evolved into a biodiversity stream with the ambition to reduce H&M Group’s overall pressures on biodiversity and to strive towards net-gain impacts.

The strategic dialogue was initiated in 2016 to explore H&M Group’s and the textile industry’s broader sustainability challenges and possibilities. The partnership worked in the three areas of raw materials, innovations and policy & advocacy.

Shifting Focus to Biodiversity

During 2020, the partnership decided to replace the strategic dialogue with a new stream focusing on biodiversity. This was a natural step as biodiversity, besides being at the core of WWF’s mission, is strongly affected by the textile industry; in processes such as raw material production and sourcing, garment design, transportation and customer use. For H&M Group, raw material sourcing is where the company has its largest impact.

In September 2020, H&M Group launched an ambition for biodiversity, developed with the support from WWF. H&M Group has taken a holistic approach to manage its impact and dependence on biodiversity. The long-term ambition is to have a net positive impact on biodiversity.

Ambition Going Forward

During the coming phase, 2021-2025, H&M Group and WWF are working to further develop this ambition, including working on projects to prevent and reduce the H&M Group Value Chain’s overall impact on biodiversity and natural ecosystems. One such example is a regenerative wool production partnership project to promote responsible grazing, rangeland biodiversity, and habitat restoration in South Africa’s Drakensberg grasslands. Another focus is to support the protection and restoration of biodiversity and natural ecosystems in line with what science requires.

Milestones & Results (Strategic Dialogue)

  • Improving H&M Group routines when sourcing selected raw materials, such as bamboo and rattan.
  • Strengthened H&M Group’s forest raw material policy, including increasing FSC certified products.
  • Supporting a pilot project for more sustainable rattan production in Indonesia, keeping forests standing while supporting biodiversity and providing business opportunities to the local community,
  • Taking first steps to develop a definition of climate positive together with IKEA.
  • During 2017 and 2018, WWF and H&M Group advocated together with other companies, for stronger regulations on energy efficiency and renewable energy in the EU.
  • Goal of H&M Group: to use 100 percent recycled, or other sustainably sourced materials, by 2030 at the latest.
  • Supporting the development of H&M Group’s biodiversity ambition that takes a holistic approach to manage the Group’s impact and dependency on biodiversity. Released in September 2020.

”A thriving fashion industry is undeniably dependent on healthy ecosystems and climate change kept within safe planetary boundaries.”

Cecilia Brännsten, Environmental Sustainability Manager H&M Group

H&M Group and WWF are working together to find ways to take action on climate change, find more sustainable materials and halt biodiversity loss.

Here is a short film on how we work together on more sustainable practices:

Sustainable Cotton Has a Demand Problem


WWF & H&M 10 Year Partnership Results


Ten years have passed since WWF & H&M Group joined forces to bring more sustainable change to H&M Group’s value chain and the textile industry.

Read about the main partnership results on Climate, Water and Biodiversity.

About H&M Group

H&M Group is one of the world’s leading fashion retailer, with around 4,900 stores in 72 markets across the globe. H&M Group consists of eight defined brands — H&M, COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M Home, ARKET and Afound. Together the brands offer customers a wealth of styles and trends within fashion, beauty, accessories and homewares as well as modern, healthy food. H&M Group’s sustainability vision is for the H&M Group to lead the change towards a sustainable fashion industry based on a fully circular approach and renewable energy.



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Senast ändrad 08/02/24

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