The growing consumer shame campaign in the West will have “dire social consequences,” said Carl-Johan Persson, CEO of one of the world’s largest H&M apparel chains. He argues that a “moratorium on consumption” will hinder the global fight against poverty – affected companies will no longer create jobs.
Persson said he was alarmed that the movement led by Greta Thunberg, which had initially called for the abandonment of air-polluting air flights, was spreading to other industries, including the one in which H&M operates.
“Many of them [activists] say that we need to stop doing some things – fly on an airplane, buy things. Yes, it can have an effect on the environment, but it will have terrible social consequences. We must reduce our environmental footprint. But at the same time, we must continue to create jobs, improve healthcare and take advantage of the other benefits of economic growth.”
Low-cost apparel chains like H&M could be one of the main victims of the consumption reduction movement. The UN called one of the important factors of environmental damage caused by textile companies the development of fast fashion – the habits of consumers to the frequent purchase of inexpensive clothes. Clothing manufacturers, according to the UN, are responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.
The fast business has built the entire business of such world giants as H&M (brands H&M, Cos and others, revenue in 2018 of $ 23 billion) and Inditex (brand Zara, revenue in 2018 of € 26 billion).