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The world is paying a high price for cheap clothes

Posted by Luke Simms

on 04 May 2020

When shoppers entered H&M’s flagship store in central London last summer, the first thing they would have seen was a dark blue, flowery minidress hanging front and center. On sale for just £4 (or $4.80 US), the dress featured more than a low price tag. It also boasted a green label with the word “CONSCIOUS.

“Further down the aisle, recycling bins stood next to a collection of striped t-shirts and dresses. This setup is not uncommon in H&M’s 4,473 stores stores across the world. That’s because the company wants to be seen as a climate champion.

The Swedish clothing empire runs an array of sustainability programs, encouraging customers to bring back unwanted clothes for reuse. It’s been releasing annual sustainability reports since 2002 and launched its first Conscious Collection using organic cotton and recycled materials in 2010.More recently, the H&M Group announced a plan to make all its apparel from recycled or sustainably-sourced materials by 2030.

It has also tried adding “repair and remake” stations in select stores, and it’s testing clothing rentals in Stockholm.

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