Our new button initiative is improving the lives of society's most vulnerable and contributing to building a circular economy.
Even the little things can make a difference. Our SS23 Studio Collection features buttons made with waste collected by waste pickers in India, an initiative that’s improving the lives of society’s most vulnerable and contributing to building a circular economy.
India has over 1.5-4 million waste pickers, collecting materials that have the potential to be sold and recycled. They play a critical role in the waste management system, but they rank among the lowest in the hierarchy of urban informal jobs in the country, and they often struggle to lead healthy, productive lives.
But the plastic the waste pickers collect is becoming a valuable resource to the fashion industry, providing economic benefits to Bengaluru’s waste pickers, bringing them closer to the formal sector.
Via this initiative, all H&M Group garments with poly buttons produced in India will have these buttons in 2023, but our ambitions are bigger. We want to both expand the use of these buttons as well as invite other brands to tap into this resource too. Imagine the impact the fashion industry could have together if we all invest in inclusive circularity.
The initiative further strengthens an existing ecosystem around the waste picker community in Bengaluru, where philanthropic H&M Foundation initiated Saamuhika Shakti (“Collective strength”) in 2020. Their holistic first-of-its-kind initiative aims to catalyse inclusive circularity, improving the lives of waste pickers in Bengaluru. Its goal is to propel waste pickers from the fringes of society to become integral and recognised parts of it. Saamuhika Shakti is funded by H&M Foundation with $11 million.