Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain: Lessons from H&M

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Sustainability 2014, 6, 6236-6249; doi:10.3390/su6096236 OPEN ACCESS sustainability ISSN 2071-1050 Article Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain: Lessons from H&M Bin Shen Glorious Sun School of Business and Management, Donghua University, Shanghai 200051, China; E-Mail:; Tel./Fax: +86-216-237-3621 Received: 15 July 2014; in revised form: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 19 August 2014 / Published: 11 September 2014 Abstract: Sustainability is significantly important for fashion business due to consumers’ increasing awareness of environment. When a fashion company aims to promote sustainability, the main linkage is to develop a sustainable supply chain. This paper contributes…show more content…
H&M is a Swedish multinational fashion company with about 3100 stores across 53 markets. H&M launched the sustainability program, which is called as “Conscious Action” [11–15]. In this program, broadly speaking, more job opportunities in less developed countries are created, more recyclable resources are used in production and consumers are educated to be more ethical [14,15]. As a result, market and supply chain are turning to be more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. However, H&M also faces a number of challenges throughout the sustainable supply chain. Challenges and conflicts of being more sustainable and profitable are present at each stage of supply chain, including material production, garment manufacturing, transportation/distribution, consumer education, and retailing. As a famous global brand, H&M is sufficiently representative to examine the sustainable fashion supply chain. Our objectives in this paper are: (1) to identify the structure of sustainable fashion supply chain; (2) based on the structure, to investigate the sustainable operations at H&M; (3) to discuss the lessons of H&M’s sustainable fashion supply chain from the country perspective. Our paper is different from that of Li et al. [11]. They focus on examining the impacts of corporate social responsibility behavior on the sustainability performance of H&M. The organization of the rest of this paper is given as follows. We first show the related
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