The Strategist

H&M Head warns of “terrible consequences” of anti-consumption movement

10/28/2019 - 07:11

A growing movement against consumption could turn into serious social problems, says Head of H&M. According to him, concern for the environment should not interfere with other global issues, especially the fight against poverty.

The movement that condemns consumption seeks to ban a lot: for example, they demand to refuse air travel or stop buying things, said H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson, quoted by Bloomberg. According to the businessman, the measures proposed by eco-activists can have a small positive effect on the environment, but their consequences for the social sphere will be terrifying.

Persson believes that climate change is a huge threat that should be taken seriously by politicians, companies, and individuals. “But the fight against poverty is a problem that is at least as important. We need to reduce our environmental footprint. At the same time, we need to continue to create jobs, improve healthcare and other things that bring economic growth,” said H&M’s CEO.

Environmental innovations, renewable energy, and improved materials are far more effective ways to combat climate change than a moratorium on consumption, Persson added.

According to the UN Economic Commission, clothing manufacturers are responsible for about 10% of global greenhouse emissions and consume more energy than aviation and shipping combined. The consumer’s habit of fast fashion — frequent buying of inexpensive clothes — resulted in an “environmental and social emergency,” the UN said. Buyers are ready to change their behavior. According to H&M itself, more than 70% of the environmental impact is attributable to the clothing production stage.

Karl-Johan Persson takes 1605th place in the ranking of the richest people in the world according to Forbes, his fortune is estimated at $ 1.4 billion. His father, Stefan Persson, heads the board of directors of H&M. Stefan Persson is Sweden's richest man with a fortune of $ 15.6 billion.