Chanel partners with CISL for sustainability skills and innovation schemes

Luxury fashion house Chanel has partnered with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) in a drive to help businesses deliver an embedded approach and develop a strong skills pipeline.

Last year, Chanel set 1.5C science-based climate targets

Last year, Chanel set 1.5C science-based climate targets

The partnership has announced three priority focus areas for work to begin with: building a sustainability education and leadership programme; running innovation ‘sprints’ and supporting students into green jobs.

Under the first pillar, Chanel and CISL will develop a “customized education programme” for use within the fashion giant’s employee base, covering the C-suite and key operational teams. Topics covered will include climate impact, biodiversity, sustainable materials sourcing and the circular economy.

The innovation ‘sprints’, meanwhile, will bring together Chanel’s direct staff and suppliers, alongside innovators and academics from Cambridge, to solve specific environmental and social issues relating to fashion products and processes. Precise topics are to be decided, but the sprints will launch in the coming months with a maximum duration of 18 months. The resulting ideas will be used to develop prototype solutions.

CISL has dubbed the third and final priority workstream “supporting today’s students to create tomorrow’s leaders”. Chanel has committed to sponsoring students from marginalized backgrounds, including low-income families and ethnic minority groups, to join CISL’s Masters in Sustainability Leadership programme over the next three years.

Also, University of Cambridge students will be invited to contribute to initiatives that will drive delivery for Chanel’s ‘sustainable transformation strategy’. Chanel notably set 1.5C-aligned Science-Based Targets last year and has since signed for a series of bonds, totalling €600m, to finance the delivery of these climate ambitions.

“This new partnership reflects key pillars of our business transformation: from research and insights that deepen our understanding to finding tangible solutions that positively impact our supply chain and wider communities,” Chanel’s chief sustainability officer Andrea d’Avack said.

“This is underpinned by educational initiatives that will help to embed a sustainability mindset to accelerate change.”

d’Avack has headed up Chanel’s sustainability work for more than six years and, in total, has worked for the brand for more than 17 years. He is retiring this June and will be replaced by Kate Wylie, former global vice-president for sustainability at Mars.

Readers interested in finding out more about CISL’s work are encouraged to visit the Institute’s dedicated edie listing here.

Sarah George



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