Honoree Year: 2019
Umeå School of Business, Economics, and Statistics
Area of Impact:
Consumer Goods or Services
A leader and advocate for sustainability, Helena Helmersson has influenced the way corporations view sustainability.
Helena Helmersson has demonstrated true leadership and a devotion to sustainability throughout her career at H&M, Sweden’s largest fashion company, and a big actor globally. Her awards as a sustainability manager have emphasized the importance of sustainability as a path to success, a crucial aspect for the future.
Helmersson began her career at H&M as a controller after focusing her studies on controlling and international business. She soon received an opportunity to leverage her international focus by moving to Asia to work with human resources and production issues.
With this experience as a backbone, Helmersson became the head of sustainability, where she has led H&M’s progress and received awards, thereby influencing the entire industry. Her initiatives have included value chain transparency, collecting worn-out clothing, and removing hazardous chemicals.
Her awards for her work in sustainability are particularly notable because these awards often go to more traditional corporate roles such as driving sales. Helmersson’s work has helped put sustainability issues on the wider corporate agenda.
Additionally, with her passion for leadership, Helmersson has worked proactively with many upcoming talents within H&M to support their career development. With insights on the value of diversity and her humble way of focusing on each individual’s personal growth, Helmersson’s leadership has been much appreciated and has shown clear operative results.