Fashion retailer H&M has said it is rewarding eco-conscious shopping via its loyalty scheme.
H&M reported today its customer loyalty programme now has over 120 million members in 26 markets, with those signed up now able to get points for more eco-conscious shopping behaviour such as choosing items with ‘sustainable’ material.
Points will also be offered to members who bring in old clothes for H&M’s garment collecting, choose climate-smart delivery options, and use their own bag when visiting the retailer’s shops.
In its first quarter trading statement, which was released today, the H&M Group said it has also issued a €500 million sustainability-linked bond with the aim of financing, among other things, an accelerated transition to recycled materials. The bond, which the retailer said was 7.6 times oversubscribed, has a term of 8.5 years and a coupon rate of 0.25%.
H&M reported a pre-tax loss for the period, which covered 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021, of SEK 1.39 billion (£115.8 million). The same period last year resulted in a profit of SEK 2.5 billion, but the pandemic has taken its toll with 1,800 stores around the world closed at one point during the quarter.
The retailer said online sales “continued to develop very well”.
H&M also published its Sustainability Performance Report 2020 today, with group CEO Helena Helmersson saying: “Although we have made good progress advancing our sustainability agenda, the last 12 months have served to further reinforce the importance of sustainability and the need to accelerate this work.
“We all need to play our part in transforming our industry into one that is genuinely built around circularity.”
Critics of H&M’s sustainability agenda accuse the company, and other fast fashion players, of contributing to overconsumption through the sheer volume of items they bring to market. The retailer’s supply chain in China has also been in focus this month, with the company itself alleging use of Uighur forced labour in cotton production in the country.
China is accused of committing serious human rights violations against the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang autonomous region. China denies this is the case, and there have been calls in the country to boycott H&M and other western brands that have voiced concerns.
H&M items have been taken off some eCommerce platforms as a result of the controversy.
H&M released a statement today, saying: “We are dedicated to regaining the trust and confidence of our customers, colleagues, and business partners in China.
“By working together with stakeholders and partners, we believe we can take steps in our joint efforts to develop the fashion industry, as well as serve our customers and act in a respectful way.”
[Image credit: H&M Group]