H&M is trying again with compostable clothing, with a 15-item line made for newborns. It’s the retailer’s latest innovation using the Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold product standard, aimed at creating products that are both safer and more circular.
The collection, set to appear in stores and online this month, is fully compostable, made from 100% organic cotton, free from dangerous dyes. And because it’s designed without any metal or plastic snaps or closures, it’s even ready for home composting.
The tiny clothes use a series of adjustable “room to grow” details, like adjustable waists, foldable waistbands and cuffs.
“With the launch of this newborn collection, H&M shows that it’s possible today to make products for tomorrow, smartly designed from the start,” says Nienke Steen, the lead for global apparel at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a nonprofit standards organization. “They present design features that address the problem of unnecessary textile waste typically associated with babies’ fast growth, while also considering circular post-use options,” she says in H&M’s announcement.
H&M sold a smaller line of similarly compostable baby clothes last year.
Composting is the latest innovation in the Swedish’s retailer’s intensified efforts to meet sustainability goals.
Compostability, like so many other topics within the crisis of textile waste, is complex. Even garments made from materials that are 100% biodegradable, including cotton, wool, fur, leather and silk, are often made with chemical processes that are harmful to soil. And trims, such as buttons, zippers and snaps, won’t break down.
H&M continues to gain attention for its efforts. Stand.earth, an environmental nonprofit based in British Columbia, recently ranked it highest for climate actions, out of 43 other fashion brands. In its new Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard, H&M scored highest, earning a B-. And the organizations that just five brands – H&M, Asics, Levi’s, Mammut and REI – have set meaningful goals to reduce emissions.
Walmart scores worst in the rankings, with such luxury brands as Chanel, Richemont and LVMH’s Louis Vuitton all landing at the bottom of the list.
Separately, H&M just released quarterly sales results, with revenues rising 3%. Excluding the impact of closed operations in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, sales climbed 16%, or 7% in local currencies.