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No matter how smart machines get, we still need human beings to make the best possible decisions based on the information at hand. And in leading the shift towards a circular fashion business, H&M Group is committed to ethical and sustainable AI. At H&M Group, we work with AI and Advanced Analytics to secure an organisation based on innovation and optimised business decisions (which in turn enable sustainable choices).

We combine AI and human intelligence into what we call Amplified Intelligence.

Essentially, Arti Zeighami, Head of Advanced Analytics and AI at H&M Group, says: “Amplified Intelligence is the collaboration between machines and humans — between data and gut feeling. We are creating solutions that help our colleagues make more precise decisions, and enable them to focus on the most relevant and creative parts of their work.”

​AI is used to amplify our designers’ creativity and our buyers’ decision-making, to boost our manufacturing efficiency, and to help us to align supply and demand. It also helps us to forecast trends accurately, to get the right products into the right stores and provides our customers with the most relevant and customised recommendations and offers.

But we need to be careful. As the debate rages on the ethical and social implications of such techniques, H&M Group recognises the pressing need for sustainable and ethical AI.

When it comes to decision-making at H&M Group, we are clear on our position. We need to make clever decisions that make a more sustainable impact on the world, driving the shift towards a circular fashion system. Circularity is ultimately about using resources sustainably, one central aspect of this is to produce only what we can sell. This, in turn, limits the need for transport and warehousing, which means less energy use.

“While creating an even more relevant offering for our customers, we are reducing the environmental impact of our operations,” says Zeighami. “It’s a win-win situation.” Looking ahead, Zeighami recognises that amplified intelligence will play a significant role in the company’s journey towards a circular business model. “I think AI is one of the most powerful tools we have in the transition towards such a fashion sys­tem,” he says. “With AI we can make sharper and better decisions that impact our world in a sustainable way.”

Leading the transition to a circular system while being a fair and equal company is the essence of H&M Group's vision, and AI is such a powerful tool, it can enable us to reach our sustainability goals and realise that vision. But only provided that it is used in the right way.

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