Demand H&M Cut Ties with Water-Polluting Factories

Target: Karl Johan-Persson, CEO of H&M Group

Goal: Stop buying material produced in factories which are polluting waterways with cancer-causing chemicals.

Many of the largest global fashion brands, including Hennes & Maurice (H&M), Zara and Marks & Spencer, have been sourcing viscose, a plant-based material hailed as a sustainable alternative to cotton, from several factories in India, China and Indonesia. However, a new report from Changing Markets alleges that these factories are acting in a decidedly non-environmentally-friendly way, dumping vast quantities of polluted wastewater into rivers and streams. The findings reveal that the chemically intensive method used to process viscose can have damaging health consequences and may harm wildlife.

Some of the chemicals used in the viscose-making process have been shown to cause cancer, birth defects and mental health issues. While the danger is greatest to factory workers, those who are exposed to these chemicals through drinking water may also be affected. In the case of one Indian factory, birth defects and cancer rates in the local area already appear to have spiked in recent years.

If H&M is committed to producing clothing using environmentally-friendly materials, they should cut ties with all seven viscose-producing factories indicated in the report. Sign this petition to demand that the CEO Karl Johan-Persson seek alternative sources of production which do not contribute to rampant pollution.


Dear CEO Karl John-Persson,

The recent report from Changing Markets which shows the disturbing process involved in producing the viscose many of your products are made from, as well as the subsequent pollution it causes, is disturbing. The report alleges that thousands of people could be at risk of exposure to highly toxic chemicals which have been shown to cause cancer, birth defects and other serious health consequences. This is not isolated to a single factory either; a total of seven factories you are partnered with in Asia are responsible for causing this pollution.

While your intentions to switch from cotton to a more sustainable material such as viscose are good, the environmental harm these factories are creating likely outweighs these benefits. I urge you to cut ties with these factories at once and seek production alternatives which are truly healthy for the planet and all its inhabitants.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kallol Mustafa

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  3. H & M has often been criticized here in Sweden for not taking the responsibility in terms of human work environment for employees in factories involved in H & M’s products. The same applies to the abominable child labor, which, regardless of poverty, should be prohibited globally.

    For the above reasons, I’m never shop at H & M, and that doesn’t matter what ever attractive goods and prices they’re advertising.

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