H&M to open supply chain to competitors

10 March 2020

H&M is to open its supply chain up to competitors as a part of its new “Treadler” initiative.

The retailer said it would begin to offer access to its global supply chain as a service to external companies.

“Treadler will enable its clients to benefit from H&M Group’s expertise, long-term supplier partnerships and strategic sustainability work, thereby helping them to overcome initial business barriers and accelerate sustainable change,” said the company.

Treadler is described by H&M as a b2b service that helps clients accelerate sustainable change. Managing director Gustaf Asp said: “We see the opportunity to utilise 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.”

H&M said Treadler would initially work on a small scale, covering all the steps from product development to sourcing, production and logistics.

A spokesperson told SM it was too soon to give more details on how the scheme would work.

The initiative has been linked to the appointment in January of Helena Helmersson as H&M CEO.

Helmersson was the firm’s head of sustainability from 2010 to 2014 before becoming head of production and then chief operating officer.

Her previous tenure as chief sustainability officer has been interpreted as a sign that fashion retailers are starting to take sustainability and supply chain more seriously.

Asp said the initiative could help clients develop supplier networks that could mitigate the effects of trade disputes or the coronavirus, according to the Financial Times.

Last year H&M said more than half (57%) of the materials used to make its products in 2018 were created using recycled or other sustainably sourced fibres.

The figure was up from 35% in 2017, while the percentage of sustainable cotton used by the brand in its garments was 95%.

In its 2018 sustainability report the company said 930,000 garment workers in its supply chain were now covered by its fair living wage strategy.

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