H&M Facing ‘Greenwashing’ Criticism For Latest Sustainable Product Line

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“Fashion this fast can never and will never be sustainable.”

Swedish-owned clothing manufacturer, H&M is facing criticism for ‘greenwashing’ after its latest marketing campaign involving a new, sustainable and up-cycled fabric that it plans to manufacture a number of its lines with.

It’s known as Re:newcell, which has been produced by a Swedish company, and H&M will be the first large-scale clothing retailer to sell garments using the upcycled material. It’s a 50/50 blend of circulose, sourced from upcycled cotton jeans and viscose from FSC-certified wood.

Critics are arguing, however, that for a fast-fashion retailer of H&M’s size, it’s impossible to manufacture clothes at the current scale while being truly sustainabile, even with the new material, with some pundits calling out the brand for greenwashing its consumers.

The Independent quoted Venetia La Manna, a campaigner working again the further proliferation of fast fashion that it’s yet another example of H&M greenwashing its customer base.

“Ultimately, the sheer amount of product H&M produces is causing irreversible harm to both planet and people, and completely outweighs their sustainability efforts… fashion this fast can never and will never be sustainable.”

She did, however, concede that circulose as a raw material for the assembly of clothing is a sound product.

“Circulose is an absolute box-ticker,” she said. “Not only is it creating something from waste, it’s also vegan-friendly, non-toxic, durable and biodegradable. As a ‘new’ material, it’s much more planet-friendly than a lot of sustainable yarns that are already on the market.”

“With this in mind, it’s a real shame to hear that Circulose chose to partner with H&M on such an exciting, circular and innovation yarn. Sustainable fashion absolutely needs to be as accessible for as many people as possible, but the fast-fashion model with never reach that all-important net-zero target that we need to be aiming for.”

La Manna argues that rather than aim to purchase new clothing that is constructed with partially or fully sustainable materials, the true sustainable goal is to slow down the rate of consumption globally.

“H&M will do whatever they can to continuously greenwash consumers,” she added.

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