Actor Maisie Williams known for her role as Arya Stark in the popular show Game of Thrones has drawn criticism for becoming the global sustainability ambassador of clothing brand H&M.
The brand has faced major backlash in the past for mass production and allegedly depriving labourers of reasonable wages in their production houses across the globe, Maisie Williams’ collaboration with the brand has been seen as her bid to help H&M in “greenwashing”.
Many social media users called out the actor and expressed their disappointment in her. They raised objections as to why an actor was entrusted with sustainability initiative if an expert in the matter could do a better job.
According to the brand and Williams, H&M is planning on using only recycled or sustainable materials in making products by 2030.
I am pleased to announce that I have joined forces with H&M as their ✨Global Sustainability Ambassador✨, to change the future of fashion. ♻️🌱🌎@hm #jointherecyclingrevolution#looopit#letschangefashion pic.twitter.com/U6nKPjbQmt
— Maisie Williams (@Maisie_Williams) April 12, 2021
Maisie Williams said, “It’s time to take action and create more viable production circuits in fashion to protect our planet for the next generation.” Elaborating on her role, Williams said that she will be working with the experts in H&M to achieve the sustainable goal.
“The long-term goal is to use 100 per cent recycled or other sustainably sourced materials for textiles across the full H&M Group brands by 2030,” she added.
We don't need paid celebrity "sustainability ambassadors", we need sustainability experts who actually know what they are talking about. There is a reason said experts are constantly calling H&M out as one of the worst offenders. And a reason why refuse to listen.
— LeanneMcNulty (she/her) (@Leanne_Mc_Nulty) April 12, 2021
Maisie Williams’ appointment comes after the announcement made by H&M in December in which they claimed to spend $100 million dollars on green initiatives.
One user while replying to Maisie Williams’ post wrote, “And here I thought you were smarter than that. HM has promised so much and done so little. Fast fashion is ruining human life and the planet we live on. They must be really got at talking for you to not see through their charade.”
While another pointed out why an expert wasn’t hired to do that job, “We don’t need paid celebrity ‘sustainability ambassadors’”
“We need sustainability experts who actually know what they are talking about. There is a reason said experts are constantly calling H&M out as one of the worst offenders. And a reason why refuse to listen,” they added.
Author Lauren Bravo called the recent initiative by H&M a “whizzy recycling solution”. She accused the brand of using useless tactics so that people can ” let them off the hook so we can all merrily keep on shopping”.
The fast-fashion brand refuted the allegation and told the Independent, “Our sustainability work has never been about ‘greenwashing’ – this categorically goes against what we stand for”. They added that sustainability is at the core of everything they do and defended themselves by recalling the appointment of Helena Helmersson as their CEO. Helmersson worked as the head of Global Sustainability.
“Our aim is to move to a fully circular business model where resources stay in use and nothing goes to waste, meaning that the scale of our production won’t have the environmental impact it has had in the past. It’s important for us to be transparent with our customers about our work towards circularity, which is why we are proud to have Maisie Williams on board as our new sustainability ambassador to inspire and engage our customers and fans in the re-use, re-making and recycling of unwanted garments,” they added.
H&M according to a report produced about $4 billion worth of unsold clothes in 2019. They were called out by the Clean Clothes Campaign for not paying fair wages to their employees working in their production houses.
To this, H&M spokesperson said that there is no universally agreed level for living wages and that they should be defined by parties on the labour market after negotiations with employers and worker representatives not by Western brands.