H&M CEO, Karl-Johan Persson, apparently doesn’t think that reducing consumption is an effective way to combat climate change, nor does he think that “shaming” consumers to buy less stuff is fair, either.
According to Bloomberg, Persson says the “growing movement that shames consumers represents a very real social threat,” indirectly referencing Greta Thunberg — 16-year-old environmental activist/queen — as a key driver of that “movement.”
The way he sees it, the recent protests are “about ‘stop doing things, stop consuming, stop flying’,” which he says “may lead to a small environmental impact, but it will have terrible social consequences.” (It’s hard to imagine a social consequence more “terrible” than even the most conservative global warming caused population displacement projections, but shareholders I guess.)
And while he acknowledged that “the climate issue is incredibly important” — always convincing when followed by a caveat — he also said that “the elimination of poverty is a goal that’s at least as important,” which is something that H&M is apparently invested in.
None of this is to say that H&M isn’t trying. As the story noted, their use of organic cotton, recycled materials and experimental fabrics has been objectively commendable, and they do ultimately have a goal of becoming “climate positive” by 2040, which means that they’d “reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than its value chain emits,” and those are good things. However, that H&M’s business model still “encourages consumers to buy more frequently and to discard still-wearable garments” isn’t.
And regardless of intent, playing the victim card as a billion-dollar corporation is a tough look, especially when the alleged bully is a 16-year-old kid who literally only wants adults to stop fucking up the planet.
You can read more about it at Bloomberg.