Retail giant continues to support Filipinos in time of crisis

Published December 7, 2020, 6:12 PM

by Jerico Villamonte

Waves for Water outreach program at the Aeta community in Porac, Pampanga

H&M Foundation extended a total of US$100,000 as emergency relief to Filipinos affected by typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses.” The donation was given directly to Philippine Red Cross to meet the urgent needs of the 130,000 people which include provision of household items, water purification tablets, water tanks, cash grants, food packs, and more.

“It’s critical to quickly support communities after they have been hit hard by multiple and devastating typhoons on top of the relentless physical, emotional, and economic toll of Covid-19. Thanks to the generous support from H&M Foundation, the Red Cross in the Philippines can give immediate life-saving relief to affected families as their lives and livelihoods have been disrupted and many have lost family members, their homes and sources of Income,” says Olle Castell, head of Asia & Pacific, Swedish Red Cross.

Image source: Red Cross Philippines Instagram

This is not the first time the Swedish brand has extended a helping hand in the country. Even before the label opened its first boutique to the Filipino market, H&M Foundation has been giving support to the Philippines through Red Cross.

“We’ve always kept a watchful eye on the region’s most vulnerable countries like ours to extend the necessary support,” shares Dan Mejia, head of communications and press, H&M Philippines. “The H&M Foundation has been in partnership with the Swedish and Philippine Red Cross since 2013 after the onslaught of typhoon ‘Yolanda.’ They also made a donation after typhoon ‘Vinta’ ravaged Southern Philippines and affected over 90,000 children in 2017, as well as to the affected communities in Eastern Visayas following typhoon ‘Ursula.’ And then most recently, to the affected communities during the Taal Volcano eruption that happened earlier this year.”

Image courtesy of H&M

H&M has been transparent about its sustainability efforts. In 2013, the brand is one of the first global fashion retailers to make its supplier list public for customers to know where their products are made of. This year, H&M ranked number one in the Fashion Transparency Index 2020, which tackles brands’ commitment to being circular and climate-positive.

For 2020, 97 percent of the H&M’s cotton-made garments are made of sustainable cotton. By 2030, they aim to have all of their garments to be 100 percent sustainably-made, and by 2040, their goal is to be 100 percent climate-positive all throughout their value chain including energy coming from renewable and sustainable sources for reduced carbon footprint.

H&M Philippines also launched its “Let’s Reuse” campaign, encouraging customers to bring their reusable bags when shopping at its stores or anywhere else as single-use paper bags actually do more harm than plastic bags. Paper bags require more energy and emit way more greenhouse gases. These bags also cost more to landfills since they take up more space by weight and volume.

Last September, H&M started charging customers P2 for every paper bag of any size in all its stores in the country, as people are accustomed to ask for more paper bags to use as gift bags especially for the holiday season. This move aimed to be a cause of reflection for people to stop and think about what’s causing problems to the earth.

All proceeds from the paper bag charges goes to Waves for Water Philippines to help support clean water projects in many local communities in the country by providing them with water filtration systems and teaching them how to optimize their natural resources like rainwater.

To learn more about H&M sustainability efforts, you can visit their website.