Kering sheds light on sustainability efforts in the luxury of the future

Luxury

The highlights included a 14 per cent reduction in the group’s overall environmental impacts between 2015 and 2018 and a 77 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations in the same period. Emissions intensity was also cut by over a third, putting the company on track to meet its previously declared Science-Based Target.

The parent company of Gucci, Saint Laurent (pictured above) and Alexander McQueen also said that it had achieved 88 per cent traceability for key raw materials, a metric that is important for brands to be able to verify both their impacts and sustainability claims. Kering chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu said in a post-conference interview.

The French luxury group has made very public promises on sustainability in recent years and said that it would regularly update on its progress. Kering says the data was compiled from its brands and is verified by external auditors.

Kering’s Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) account, which it uses to track impact throughout all stages of production, featured heavily. As expected, raw material production had the largest impact across the board.

The company also announced it’s collecting data in order to extend the EP&L methodology to account for a circular, full life-cycle for products. Currently, it covers raw materials through distribution and retail; the data collection will add consumer use and product end-of-life.

Investing in the future

Luxury fashion’s quest for quality raw materials has significantly impacted the earth’s biodiversity, but Kering offered a silver lining.

Kering last year also released the first-ever animal welfare standards for luxury and fashion to improve industry practices. It is in the process of developing a Science-Based Target for biodiversity.

Take, for instance, sapphire glass, a transparent material that’s more durable than standard glass and helps keep watch faces and smartphone screens scratch-free. 

Kering has gone on to establish a materials' innovation lab as well as a lab for sustainable innovation in jewellery and watches to help answer these questions.

It also participates in Fashion for Good — an Amsterdam-based startup accelerator dedicated to reducing the social and environmental impact of the fashion industry.

Michael Olmstead, chief revenue officer of Plug and Play Tech Center, pointed to the example of Mango Materials, which transforms methane gas into pellets of polymer.

The company had focused on packaging initially but turned its attention to alternative fibre creation after liaising with Kering.

This cross-fertilisation of ideas is perhaps just the kind of approach that companies need to propel their sustainability efforts exponentially.