H&M has partnered with private equity group TPG and Swedish-based investor Vargas to support a multi-billion dollar venture created to slash textile emissions and revolutionise the fashion industry.

Named Syre, the new business will be building factories which are designed to reduce the effects of fast-fashion and are able to reduce polyester emissions by up to 85%.

As part of the agreement, H&M has already signed a £472 million ($600m) deal with the new business, which will be supplying about half of its recycled polyester supplies for the next seven years.

The move marks the latest initiative from H&M to boost its sustainability credentials.

Syre has big ambitions and is aiming to build multiple production plants producing circular polyester around the world. It says these plants will reduce CO2e emissions by up to 85% compared to the production of oil-based virgin polyester.

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The first production plant will be in North Carolina, which will be up and running this year. In total, it plans to have 12 plants worldwide, producing more than 3 million metric tons (MT) of circular polyester.

“Syre marks the start of the great textile shift,” says CEO Dennis Nobelius.

“We envision a world where every textile fibre sees a new day. By implementing true textile-to-textile recycling at hyperscale, we want to drive the transition from a linear to a circular value chain by putting textile waste to use, over and over again.”

Textile waste is a major challenge facing the retail industry, with the fashion industry today accounting for between 7-10% of global CO2e emissions.

Although oil-based polyester represents about 54% of the global fibre market, only around 1% of it is currently recycled. Syre’s circular material— or cPET — can be re-used and turned into new products.

According to the FT, Syre is talking with “all the major global brands” such as flat-pack furniture pioneer Ikea about possible involvement in the venture.

Nobelius said “a couple of billion dollars” would be needed to finance the 12 factories in North America, southern Europe and Asia.

H&M has invested in offshore wind in Bangladesh to supply 40% of the South Asian country’s power.

In 2023, H&M held  its first-ever green bond sale, a significant move by the company as it seeks to improve its sustainability record.

Circular economyClimate crisisMaterials and packagingNewsRetailSocial sustainabilitySupply Chain

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