H&M Head of Sustainability praises VeChain’s traceability solution

  • Head of Sustainability for H&M Group, Anna Gedda, has revealed a post-pandemic vision that is integrating VeChain’s blockchain technology.
  • H&M Group experienced a 50 percent drop in sales and 80 percent closure of its stores globally.

In an interview with Forbes, Anna Gedda, the Head of Sustainability for H&M Group set out the vision for the H&M Group and revealed more details about the role VeChain will play in creating “post-pandemic fashion”. Gedda emphasized how quickly they have had to adapt to overcome the crisis and how blockchain technology has been key.

According to Gedda, the H&M Group faced a global problem when 80% of its 5,000 stores were closed. This led to a 50% reduction in sales, according to the company’s second quarter report. Therefore, the problem H&M faced was complex and affected the health of its employees, the company’s profits and the supply chain:

Because of the demand slump, we had to quickly figure out how to mitigate those effects working with our suppliers, to ensure that they are able to fill orders and get paid, while we cut our losses where possible. The impact of the crisis has really been felt throughout the company. Luckily we are seeing things slowly improving, as stores reopen, and more people go back to some kind of new normal.

VeChain’s role in a sustainable fashion industry

Gedda emphasized that the world after the pandemic will be different. The figures referred to above show that all industry players were impacted. In that sense, the “digital phase” of the industry has been and will continue to accelerate. On the changes that the industry will go through, Gedda added:

(…) there’s a lot of talk about environmental sustainability, as well as economic recovery efforts, including job creation. We can see that we really need to transition to a more resilient, diverse business model – a much more circular business model than what we have today.

H&M Group’s vision is a fashion industry with sustainable products that are “accessible for many”. In addition, H&M wants to be a source of jobs and income. In this sense, the company will work with VeChain to increase its transparency. To this end, they will provide users with access to information that tells them when, where and how a product was made. In this way, consumers will be able to verify that the supply chain is environmentally friendly.

Gedda referred to the project that H&M and VeChain launched in early 2020. Through the My Story™ labels, also developed with partner DNV GL, users were able to verify the authenticity of COS’ sweaters and verify that they were made of sustainable materials.

With transparent information about how, where and by whom a product was made, customers are empowered to make informed decisions, ensuring that everything they buy is designed, manufactured and handled with responsibility for people and the environment […]

Earlier this year COS partnered with a blockchain platform VeChain to enable customers to see the full history of a sweater made from recycled wool. Blockchain technology helped trace the origin of the leftover wool, the spinning mill and the knitting factory. By scanning a QR code on the hangtag the customer saw a map, pictures and could read the story of the sweater.

My Story™ is a blockchain tracking solution that, as mentioned above, allows buyers to have more information and track a certain product completely. Otherwise, VeChain and H&M have developed projects together for the subsidiary Arket, as Gedda added:

[…] The sweater was available in COS stores in Asia in February 2020. Another brand of ours, Arket, has tried this technology as well.

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