H&M, one of the world’s largest fast fashion houses, has just launched a new sustainable fashion B2B service called Treadler. The service will offer other companies access to H&M’s global supply chain and sustainable product development support. It follows the group’s appointment of former sustainability chief Helena Helmersson as CEO in January, signalling the brand’s bullish plans to ramp up its eco credentials as the wasteful and polluting nature of the fashion industry gets exposed.
Soon after appointing former sustainability chief Helena Helmersson as CEO in January, the H&M Group launched its brand new B2B arm Treadler. Through Treadler, H&M will be offering other companies access to its global supply chain, expertise, long-term partnerships and sustainability strategies. It will initially work on smaller-scale projects tailored to suit the need of each company, covering the eco-friendliness of all supply chain operations from product development to sourcing and logistics.
In a statement, Gustaf Asp, the managing director of Treadler said: “We see the opportunity to utilise the full potential of H&M Group’s extensive investments and progressive sustainability work…In discussions with other companies, we have experienced a demand for these kinds of services.”
Given the sheer size of the waste and pollution problem inherent in the fashion industry, there is a huge need for businesses to access sustainable supply-chain solutions and expertise. According to the United Nations, the fashion industry is responsible for as much as 10% of global carbon emissions that drive the climate crisis, and almost 75% of its output ends up being landfilled or burned in incinerators.
These statistics have sent consumers in search for less environmentally damaging options, such as rental, resale, recycled and upcycled fashion. H&M has in recent years begun a major cleanup of its enormous environmental footprint through a number of initiatives, such as launching a rental, repair and recycling concept in their Stockholm flagship and partnering up with rental fashion subscription platform YCloset via its independent brand COS to offer rental in China.
In their Conscious Collection this year, H&M has collaborated with Italian biomaterial startup Vegea to offer a number of handbags and shoes using a vegan leather made from the byproducts of wine. The fashion giant will also feature pieces made using Circulose fibre, which is created from recovered and recycled denim, which reduces textile and water waste.
The consumer appetite for greener solutions is driving the current industry-wide explosion of sustainable fashion. Other big names have jumped on the sustainability wagon, such as sportswear behemoth Adidas who pledged to use recycled fabrics in over half of their products earlier this year. Soon after, its rival Nike unveiled a collection of “low carbon footprint” vegan sneakers made from waste materials.
In Asia, a supply chain-focused sustainable fashion initiative similar to H&M’s Treadler B2B service was launched in September last year. Global fashion initiative Fashion For Good announced the launch of a US$60 million Good Fashion Fund, which seeks to initiate change at the structural level across the apparel and footwear supply chain through investing in sustainable innovations in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Lead image courtesy of Treadler.