Luxury sector unites to create roadmap for sustainability

Major luxury firms such as Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Chanel have developed a sustainable roadmap to help the sector address the challenges posed by climate change, biodiversity loss and rising economic inequality.

The Disrupting Luxury report was launched late last week by fifteen luxury companies including Kering, Harvey Nichols and Swarovski.

It recommends that the industry engages in the circular economy by adopting regenerative sourcing products to ensure the availability of precious raw material such as wool, leather, exotic wood, cashmere and rare essential oils.

The report also argues that luxury companies should assess how products affect society and the planet, and help ensure that supply chain workers receive quality training a fair wage.

Investors and consumers should be better engaged on environmental and social progress through heightened transparency, the report contends. It calls on businesses to engage consumers more deeply on a new value proposition for luxury that fully integrates sustainability.

“Luxury companies have the added responsibility as trendsetters to create value for the good of the environment and society, which can then influence the entire fashion industry to act,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs, Kering. 

“In prioritising sustainability and embedding proactive strategies into our business models now, the luxury sector will become more adaptive to future challenges and ultimately this will provide us with critical business advantages.”   

Sustainable fashion

Fashion and textiles are considered the second largest contributors to pollution in the world, accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions.

The equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is wasted every second, according to a report co-launched by Dame Ellen MacArthur and Stella McCartney, while less than 1% of clothing is recycled into new clothes. In a stark warning, the report predicts the fashion industry could use up to a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050 if nothing changes.

Fashion group Kering is leading the way in creating a more sustainable future for the luxury industry. The firm’s chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu recently told edie it is partnering with “disruptive” new minds to uncover innovations that will help reach ambitious science-based targets. Targets have been set for 100% traceability of key raw materials, and the creation of a supplier index to ensure the entire supply chain complies with Kering’s values by 2025. 

edie’s Responsible Retail 2018

Solving key challenges – including modern slavery, supply chain involvement and the circular economy – will be one of the key themes of edie’s third annual Responsible Retail conference, taking place on 20 September 2018 at 99 City Road, London.

The full-day event has been designed for the retailers, sustainability professionals and key stakeholders that are looking for the information, insight and inspiration required to seize the sustainability opportunity.

Find out more about Responsible Retail 2018 and register to attend here.

George Ogleby

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