H&M tests sustainable paper packaging across all of its brands

H&M Group packaging

As e-commerce booms during the pandemic, H&M Group is testing new sustainable paper packaging across its brands in a bid to cut down on plastic waste.

At the global fashion group’s distribution centres in the Netherlands, UK, Sweden,  China, Russia and Australia, millions of packages have been sent to customers as part of a test for more sustainable packaging solutions.

The move has been motivated by the group’s aim to become a circular business and the packaging is made from certified paper, which once opened is fully recyclable.

In addition the branding is applied via labels, to allow each brand to be more relevant  with messaging, while the bags have “a cleaner and nicer look”. This,  in turn, prevents packages having outdated messages  on them, preventing another waste risk.

“We are introducing a type of packaging that is better for both the customer and the environment. It is yet to be improved since we need to continue working on replacing the use of plastic throughout our logistics supply chain. But by introducing this new multi-brand packaging we are creating a huge impact by replacing the outer plastic with a paper solution. This is a small step on a long  journey,” said Hanna  Lumikero, service owner and responsible for the new packaging system at H&M Group.

So far,  the new packaging solution has  been  introduced  to customers at  COS, ARKET,  Monki  and Weekday.  The  H&M  brand has started to implement it  in selected markets, and this  will increase over the coming months. At the beginning of 2021, & Other Stories will be added to the trial.

“We use valuable input from our customers to improve and we know that they are happy about receiving their orders in more sustainable packaging.  At the same time, we are committed to reducing plastic throughout our business and value chain.  That is why we will implement this packaging solution in all of our brands,” Lumikero added.

The packaging solution will help H&M Group towards reaching the goals of its circular strategy for packaging, including  reducing  packaging  by 25%  and designing  reusable,  recyclable  or compostable packaging by 2025  at the latest.

The goals are  aligned with  the  Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s  New Plastics Economy Global Commitment,  as well as the Fashion Pact  and  Canopy’s  initiative  Pack4Good,  and have led to  H&M Group  removing  most of its  plastic shopping bags in  the brands’  stores,  substituting them  with a certified paper option.

Together with other actions,  this  contributed to  a  4.7%  reduction in plastic packaging  during  2019, which represents more than 1,000  tons  of plastic.  By implementing  the new packaging pilot,  H&M  Group has moved  closer to  reaching these  goals, it said.