H&M’s B2B Treadler: Serving A Need For Sustainable Supply Chain Expertise

Did you know that according to McKinsey Industry report, “The State of Fashion 2019”, 90% of young consumers today believe companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues? Additionally, according to The Global Fashion Agenda Pulse Report 2019, 50% of consumers plan to switch brands if another brand acts more sustainable. So it should not come as a surprise that one of the challenges that the fashion industry faces is producing more sustainable.

Accelerating Sustainable Change

Recently, high street brand H&M launched a new initiative called Treadler. On a sustainability kick, H&M aims to offer access to H&M Group’s global supply chain as a service to external companies. The concept explores how business to business can drive sustainable growth within the fashion industry, by offering services from product development to sourcing, production, and logistics.

Treadler is a B2B initiative by H&M Group designed to enable external companies to access the group’s global supply chain. Initially working on a small scale and providing a service that tailored to suit the needs of each client, Treadler will enable its clients to benefit from H&M Group’s expertise, long-term supplier partnerships, and strategic sustainability work.  

Planning to help businesses to overcome initial business barriers and accelerate sustainable change, Gustaf Asp, Managing Director Treadler explained: “We see the opportunity to utilize the full potential of H&M Group’s extensive investments and progressive sustainability work by catering to clients’ needs and contributing to driving long-term growth for H&M Group while driving change in our industry. In discussions with other companies, we have experienced a demand for these kinds of services.”

All About Scaling Sustainable Supply Chain Services

Scaling sustainable supply chain services, H&M believes that for the industry to have a more sustainable fashion future it starts with partnerships, knowledge sharing, and transparency. With plans to help their clients efficiently accelerate sustainable production, it is good to know that when it comes to the Swedish multinational clothing-retail company’s supply chain, they have confirmed that they use 57% recycled or sustainable materials and 97% recycled or sustainable cotton. Also, they have a 95% track record of on-time delivery and 930k garment workers enrolled in their Wage Strategy Programs.

Dedicated to driving the sustainability agenda, H&M is working towards a more sustainable fashion future by tackling supply chain’s fragmentation and helping fashion brands—who lack the finances of scale—to produce environmentally and socially responsible garments. That all being said, H&M is still a fast-fashion brand, which is probably why it is under fire when it comes to being sustainable. Usually accused of green-washing, the high street label does not give up presenting a public image of being an innovator with solid sustainable credentials.

Although some see H&M as being the king of cheap and disposable clothing, one must applaud its perseverance to future proof the industry. “We have focused on transforming and improving our supply chain. We’ve realized that the output of our efforts can be valuable for others too,” said new H&M chief executive Helena Helmersson. The sustainability executive at the retailer also admits: “it’s no secret that we are part of an industry that’s been commercially successful but not sustainable enough”. 

On a positive note, it is worth mentioning that H&M was recently named one of the World’s Most Sustainable Corporations. The group was recognized by Corporate Knight’s Global 100 as being one of the world’s most sustainable companies. With plans to start small in the B2B realm, I will be curious to see how H&M opening its global supply chain to rivals through its initiative will work long term.

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Written by Muchaneta Kapfunde

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