Kering Takes Up Luxury’s Responsibility to Drive Sustainability

Luxury has long been fashion’s leader, and Kering says the responsibility now lies in guiding the industry toward greater sustainability.

“Luxury sets the trends,” said Kering’s chief sustainability officer and head of International Institutional Affairs, Marie-Claire Daveu. “We have the specific responsibility to lead by example and really to move and have a strong journey on sustainability.”

Daveu kicked off a day of virtual sessions for WWD’s first sustainability conference held last week with a session called “Crafting Tomorrow’s Luxury.”

“At Kering, under the vision and control of François-Henri Pinault, we don’t see sustainability as a sector or a topic to make in competition,” Daveu said. “We are very confident that if we want to change the paradigm we have to work altogether.”

And one of those efforts in striving for a united front in the fight for sustainability, is Kering’s Fashion Pact, a three-pronged climate pledge unveiled last year by company chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault, ahead of the Group of Seven summit hosted by France in Biarritz.

To date, more than 250 brands have signed onto the initiative, including Adidas and Chanel, and together, the collective represents over 35 percent of the industry in terms of product volume.

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“Together these companies have decided to take care of our planet,” Daveu said.

While on its web site, Kering noted “the signatories agreed to report on their progress in September 2020,” things fell a bit behind, and it may more likely be next month when the public gets a look at what the Fashion Pact signatories have been doing.

“In October for the first time, we show very interesting key performance indicators, which progress we have made and what we want to do for the next year and the next year to change the paradigm,” Daveu said.

Addressing Kering’s own sustainability journey, Daveu said the company launched its Kering for Nature Fund in June, committing to set aside 1 million hectares of land for the transition to regenerative agricultural practices, while also publicly setting science-based targets on biodiversity.

Between 2015 and 2018, Kering reduced its overall environmental impacts by 14 percent, with the Group poised to reach its 40 percent reduction target by 2025.

Since 2011, Kering has been quantifying nature into monetary values across its entire supply chain, using its Environmental Profit and Loss tool, and has what Daveu calls “check-ins” with Pinault on a daily basis. Specifically, carbon emissions, water consumption, air and water pollution, land use and waste production are captured through the EP&L along the entire supply chain. Its methodology has since been made interactive and open to the industry.

Sustainability has become the foremost focus in fashion, though there are still gaps in the industry’s traditional approach to seasonal collections and production, which need to be reconciled. And it can’t be a short-term — or short-sighted — fix.

“When you are talking about sustainability and implementing action, it’s for the long run,” Daveu said. “It’s key not only to be able to continue the business but also it’s a big expectation from clients and consumers.”

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