H&M, the renowned fashion house and retailer, recently hosted a dialogue on Environmental Consciousness and Sustainability last March 24 at the Museum Café, Makati City. This is in anticipation with the launching of its Conscious Exclusive 2018 Collection.
Last Saturday’s roundtable discussion consisted of the following panelists – Xin Yi Wong, H&M Souteast Asia’s Sustainability Manager, Antoinette Taus, former actress and founder of Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA) as well as an advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development; Dr. Vincent Hilomen PhD from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He is the Executive Director of the department’s Biodiversity Management Bureau.
Balaan said the Swedish government supports what H&M is doing, citing it as a model of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Other Swedish companies have also done so. They even take pride on being the most environmentally-conscious companies in the world and they are now trying to impart that to countries where they have set up shop.
According to Wong, “To provide fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way, we have to change the way fashion is made and enjoyed today.” H&M (Hennes and Mauritz) has been leading the way in corporate social responsibility and environmental consciousness and sustainability. Based in Sweden, it has complied with its government’s policy of caring for the environment. This is a mentality imparted to all H&M branches worldwide.
In line with that, H&M has taken the initiative in making use of recycled materials and turning them into something useful such as materials for clothing. Some materials the company has been using are cotton fabrics and even skins of fruits and vegetables such as bananas and pineapples. H&M aims to use 100% sustainably sourced or recycled cotton by 2020 and “climate positive” by 2040.
Taus spoke about the role her advocacy CORA. The organization follows a similar aim as H&M, collecting resources from waste that is considered reusable and see they are converted into something useful and sustainable as well. In that regard, CORA has taken part in numerous cleanup drives, gathering enough waste and having them recycled. As a matter of fact, the dress she wore is made out of such materials.
D.r Hilomen gave also imparted some words. One particular item he mentioned is for us to be very cautious of the use of plastics and how we dispose them. Plastics do not degrade or decompose easily. It can break down into very minute particles we could accidentally ingest whether from swimming in the sea or in our food.
The discussion was also the venue for designer Vito Selma to showcase his work which made use of recycled fishing nets. After the talk, the guests went out to see his creation displayed outside. Selma created wave like sculptures where the nets look like wave crests. Guests also get the see a sample of H&M’s Conscious Exclusive 2018 collection – dresses made out of recyclable materials.
Wong also said, “We hope that more people realize that there are so many ways to be more conscious of the world around us…that a strong commitment to be sustainable and have a genuine care for the welfare of the people and the planet throughout out value chain and what we’re here for.”