SINGAPORE: Customers shopping at H&M will soon be charged for using shopping bags, as part of a new initiative announced by the fashion retailer on Monday (Jul 15).
Starting next Thursday, all H&M stores in Singapore will charge S$0.10 for the use of every plastic or paper shopping bag.
All proceeds will be donated to WWF Singapore's Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative, a business initiative to eliminate plastic pollution and work towards a "circular economy" for plastics.
H&M is the first fashion retailer signatory of the PACT initiative, according to the company.
"This move is part of H&M’s circular packaging strategy which consists of longer-term measures to reduce its plastic use," said H&M. "As part of PACT, H&M has also committed to time-bound goals of eliminating unnecessary packaging, transitioning to reusable materials and ensuring the use of recycled plastic in its packaging by 2025.
"With this in place, we aim to encourage our customers to join us in sustainable actions by bringing their own reusable bags or purchasing them from our stores if they do not already own one."
Under PACT, proceeds will go towards innovations to find sustainable alternative materials, research into plastic pollution and conservation projects.
"To create a more sustainable fashion future, we need to take the lead by tackling some of the most significant challenges that are facing our planet and society," said H&M's Country Manager of South East Asia Fredrik Famm.
"H&M's move comes at a crucial time where we need bold action to change how plastics are produced, used and disposed of," said WWF Singapore's chief executive officer Maureen DeRooij. "A bag charge, proven to be effective in reducing plastic use, is a crucial step that retail businesses can take to stop plastic pollution.”
The world's second-largest fashion group has been focusing on boosting its environmental credentials.
READ: Sustainable fashion: H&M to trial sales of second-hand and vintage garments
Earlier this year, the Swedish company announced it would launch a pilot in its home country for online sales of second-hand garments on the site of its & Other Stories brand.
It also runs a clothes recycling initiative where customers can drop off unwanted clothing at recycling boxes in-store.