New packaging solution
Climate
Transformation

The Whole Package

Client
H&M
Share

A global fashion brand pairs sustainability and growth.

The fashion industry exploded over the past two decades. Garment production has doubled since 2000, and plastics use has multiplied along with it. H&M, one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world, wanted to grow more sustainably. One of its goals: eliminate plastic from its packaging. Together we developed a new paper packaging system that’s cutting thousands of tons of plastic from H&M’s operations, helping the company and its customers meet their sustainability goals.

Progress

100 million plastic-free packages

shipped in 2022

2,000 tons of plastic eliminated

from H&M operations
H&M employees admiring new packaging solution
New packaging solution

Packaging accounts for 26% of plastics produced globally every year.

Fashion e-commerce is estimated to grow by 10% annually through 2024, requiring even more packaging.

Fast fashion keeps getting faster. But if the industry is to meet its climate commitments, its use of plastics has to slow down.

H&M chief executive Helena Helmersson set ambitious sustainability goals when she stepped into her role. She wanted to reduce the fashion giant’s impact on the environment and enable meaningful growth. But change is tough for any company, let alone one with eight brands operating across 74 markets. Together IDEO and the H&M Group created new plastic-free packaging, rallying around a more sustainable packaging solution that’s easily customizable.

By applying a design-led approach that went far beyond hiring a sustainability consultant, the H&M Group managed to reduce its use of plastic. But it didn’t stop there. A small team called Design Studio took what it learned and grew into an established strategic capability that pioneers new ways of working in the organization, tackling complex challenges in circularity, inclusion, supply chain, and customer experience. Sustainability isn’t a passing trend for H&M. It’s moving fashion forward.

H&M design team reviewing different packaging prototypes
“Sustainable packaging was our first beacon project for using a design-led approach to deliver on big shifts as a company. Today we’ve built a design capability tackling challenges in key strategic areas while unleashing human-centered ways of working across our organization.”
Catharina Frankander

Catharina Frankander

Head of Design Studio, H&M Group

Designing the future
Employee using new packaging to ship H&M products
Image of H&M design studio
"Replacing plastic packaging with paper is a small but important change toward a more sustainable fashion industry. We are proud about pushing sustainably produced paper to be the new normal for online deliveries.”
Hanna Lumikero

Hanna Lumikero

Head of Design Studio, H&M Group

Thank you

We would like to thank the H&M warehouse operations team and R&D specialists who made this work possible with their partnership. Also, Annica Eldh for joining our team as a packaging expert.

We also want to recognize the H&M Group Design Studio for continuing to evolve these packaging solutions.

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LET’S TRANSFORM THE FUTURE LET’S INNOVATE THE FUTURE LET’S BUILD THE FUTURE LET’S DESIGN THE FUTURE

LET’S TRANSFORM THE FUTURE LET’S INNOVATE THE FUTURE LET’S BUILD THE FUTURE LET’S DESIGN THE FUTURE

LET’S TRANSFORM THE FUTURE LET’S INNOVATE THE FUTURE LET’S BUILD THE FUTURE LET’S DESIGN THE FUTURE

Whatever challenge your organization might face, you don’t have to solve it alone. Let’s talk about the future you’re here to make—and then let’s make it.