Refashioned approach: Kering goes carbon-neutral

The luxury fashion group behind brands such as Cartier, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent has confirmed plans to offset its entire 2018 greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, including its supply chain emissions.

Refashioned approach: Kering goes carbon-neutral

In total

Kering said it had taken the decision to purchase offsets for the GHGs emitted by its operations, power sourcing and supply chain after a string of efforts to reduce its emissions over the past few years – with results tracked through the company’s Environmental Profit & Loss accounting model, based on a natural capital approach.

Such efforts were made under its 2C-aligned science-based targets, which commit the group to halving its operational and supply chain emissions by 2025, against a 2015 baseline. Notable changes made since the target was approved in 2016 include switching to 100% renewable energy in seven markets and investing in energy efficiency schemes, such as the Clean by Design programme for textile mills.

Kering said in a statement that while efforts to reduce its footprint further “will continue to be focused on as a priority”, offsets to achieve carbon neutrality have increasingly been under consideration since the publication of the IPCC’s landmark report on climate change. The report states that limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5C will require the world to reach net-zero carbon by mid-century, and that exceeding this limit will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. 

The firm’s offsets for 2018 emissions will cover 2.4 million tonnes of CO2e and be verified by REDD+. Kering has chosen for the offset funding to be earmarked for projects supporting biodiversity and habitat conservation and restoration and claims its contribution will preserve around two million hectares of forests.

“When it comes to climate change, we can no longer wait to take real action,” Kering’s chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault said.

“We all need to step up as businesses and account for the GHG emissions that we generate in total.”

From catwalks to climate change

Kering is widely regarded as one of the most vocal firms in the luxury fashion sector on climate issues.

It has been purchasing offsets that contribute to habitat conservation and restoration since 2011, but its new announcement marks the first time that its offset scheme has been extended to account for Scope 3 (indirect) emissions.

The company was also instrumental in the creation of a new climate roadmap for the luxury sector, which outlines measures to help the industry tackle key environmental and social issues, earlier this year.

It is additionally a co-creator and signatory of the Fashion Pact – a joint commitment from fashion firms in G7 nations to end their contributions to climate change and ocean plastic pollution – and the UN’s sustainable fashion charter.

In signing the charter, brands commit to carbon neutrality by 2050, but Kering has always maintained that it is able to move faster. Last month, the firm’s best-known brand, Gucci, said it had become carbon-neutral after partnering with REDD+ to invest in offsetting.

Addressing concerns around the effectiveness of offsetting at the time, Gucci’s chief executive Marco Bizzarro told The Guardian: “The best way to have zero emissions is to close the company, but then 18,000 people will lose their jobs.

“Offsetting is better than not doing anything, and if in the long-term it can be done [differently] we can look at that. But there is a danger, to [thousands of people] to go too much in a different direction [too quickly].”

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Sarah George

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