Sustainable luxury brands pioneering positive change

The high-end segmentsegment is promoting ethical values as renown luxury brands increasingly demonstrate their rethinking towards sustainable luxury

sustainable luxury brands Cartier

Author: Elisabeth Klokar

Sustainability, longevity, less consumption. These are all buzzwords that are causing a revolution in ways of thinking and business models across industries. At the same time this implies the focus on only useful and the essential things. Is this therefore a threat to the Luxury industry?

After all, premium products are about extra comfort, pleasure and Aesthetic - nothing essential for survival. Thought wrong. In reality, the luxury industry can and must embody this change in values. Renowned, sustainable ones show how this works Luxury brands, who position themselves as pioneers of positive change.

BRAND GUIDE

Why luxury brands can drive sustainability

Sure, at first it sounds paradoxical that luxury goods should embody sustainability or even promote it. With a simple consideration, however, the connection can be made clear: Luxury does not mean opulence. Luxury also means quality and, accordingly, durability and longevity. Premium goods usually use high-quality materials and can be reused, passed on, repaired and recycled.

In short, this means longer life cycles and thus the protection of the environment. From this perspective, luxury goods evolve from "an expense to a permanent investment, an expression of a rare savoir-faire ..." says Cyrille Vigneron, CEO and President of Cartier.

Luxury brands are role models in their industry, they set the trend that designers follow globally. If these brands have sustainability as their top priority, then many will follow. Not for nothing it says in a Study by Bain & Companythat in 2030 we will no longer be talking about the luxury industry, but about the market for “insurgent cultural and creative excellence”.

Top 5 ethical and sustainable luxury brands

  1. Cartier
  2. Chanel
  3. Moncler
  4. LOEWE
  5. Burberry

1 Cartier

After the environmental protection have caused a rethinking in fashion , sustainability and ethics are becoming more and more relevant in the jewellery industry as well. And as an industry leader and well-known company with a long tradition, it's no wonder that Cartier is setting new quality standards in terms of sustainable jewellery production. Not only by using ethical gold, but also with the consideration of conflict-free diamonds.

Globally, Cartier's annual gold consumption is only 10 tons, of which more than 90% are being recycled . Their diamond sourcing follows the Kimberly Process and compliance with the Code of Conduct of the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices. Since 2009 the jewellery giant has also been carbon neutral. In addition, the quality of their creations ensure durability, while repair offers are also available, if necessary to extend the product life cycle.

Watch from sustainable luxury brand Cartier

Source & Copyright by Cartier

2. Chanel

The traditional company launched its first sustainability report back in 2018, in which it declared that it has banned the use of fur and other exotic hides. The procurement of these materials does not meet the ethical standards of the Maison. Therefore, this sustainable luxury brand dedicated itself to the research of innovative alternative materials. That is why, Chanel has invested in "Sulapac", a start-up that produces biodegradable plastic alternatives, and in "Evolved by Nature", which produces non-toxic silk alternatives.

After Chanel signed the Fashion Pact with Kering in 2019, the iconic fashion house now introduced its own climate strategy in March 2020, the CHANEL Mission 1,5 ° commitment. Following the Paris climate agreement the report describes measures to reduce the CO2 footprint, e.g. by using green energy, supporting reforestation and local farmers.

chanel sustainability

Chanel exhibition

3. Moncler

For the second year in a row, in 2020 Moncler is leading the Global and European Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. Thus, this sustainable luxury brand carries the gold standard of corporate sustainability. In short, this means that the Italian fashion house is acting as the lead of a global coalition, committed to three key sustainable pillars: fighting global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.

With the launch of its "Moncler Born to Protect Sustainability Plan" The brand is now reaffirming its sustainability goals: climate measures, circular economy and fair procurement. Measures such as the promotion of CO2 neutrality and the conversion to renewable energies are being implemented. In addition, working towards waste reduction, traceability of raw materials as well as the improvement of environmental and social standards.

moncler sustainable luxury brand collection

Source & Copyright by Moncler

4. LOEWE

Long-standing luxury brand with a future-oriented vision. The Spanish fashion company, founded in 1846, aims to reduce its impact on the planet by combining tradition with innovative technologies. Accordingly, this sustainable luxury brand is dedicated to researching sustainable practices following a holistic approach:

Their green projects include processing high quality and low-emission natural materials, Recycling, the protection of animals, biodiversity and farmers as well as resource conservation. In addition, the use of sustainable packaging materials, optimization of transport conditions, reduction of their CO2 footprint and the introduction of Circular economy systems.

Loewe sustainability

Source & Copyright by Loewe

5. Burberry

In 2018, Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti announced that the luxury fashion brand would stop disposing unsold products. Previously, this disposal was justified with the "protection of brand value". According to The Times , the company has burned clothes with a value of one hundred million euros within the last five years. No doubt, this has generated a lot of criticism. But now Burberry wants to radically change its approach and instead recycle and donate their slow-moving goods.

In addition, Burberry announced that it will no longer use real fur. Riccardo Tisci's debut collection for Burberry was just the beginning. In the same year Burberry also became a core partner of the "Make Fashion Circular" initiative. This is also reflected in their collection called ReBurberry, which includes 26 sustainable garments made from environmentally friendly materials such as ECONYL®, bio-acetate, bio-nylon and recycled polyester.

Re-burberry collection from the sustainable luxury brand

Source & Copyright by Burberry

Conclusion - This is how your recognise sustainable luxury brands

  • Transparency regarding goals for sustainability and CSR 
  • Conservation of natural resources and animal welfare
  • Promote recycling, 2nd life and repair
  • Production in accordance with circular economy
  • Sustainable packaging and transport
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions towards climate neutrality
  • Respect for human rights and social responsibility

Relevant customer groups demand sustainable luxury too

Consumers are also demanding more responsibility. A study by the management consultancy Bain & Company shows: 89 percent of consumers expect brands to publicly communicate their sustainable actions, especially in the luxury sector, in the coming years. Conscious customers want to identify themselves with the values ​​behind the brand. Therefore they constantly challenge luxury brands to become more creative and to look beyond the products.

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