Luxury Fashion Industry Focuses on Environmental Protection

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Environmental consciousness in the luxury sector has arisen slowly. For years, leading luxury fashion brands performed little in terms of investing in actual sustainable measures. But now that mindset is changing, particularly with the evolving consumer expectations with regard to corporate environmental issues. According to BSR, the world’s biggest nonprofit business network dedicated to sustainability, consumers now want their brands to act responsibly.

Many luxury groups, brands, and trade associations have now created programs aimed at making beauty and fashion industry more environmentally aware and committed. Discussions are on to create an industry-wide logo to identify clothing and accessories produced in a sustainable manner. Global brands such as Ralph Lauren have hired directors of sustainability. Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer for the Kering luxury group, whose brands include Stella McCartney, Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Puma, said that the luxury sector has a particular responsibility because it sets trends and is open to innovation.

BSR and Kering recently released a study that says climate change will negatively affect the availability and quality of key raw materials – and by extension, the vulnerable communities that are herding or farming these materials. To address this situation, the report suggests that fashion companies should help suppliers improve their practices, for instance by learning sustainable grazing and herding skills. Supply chain sustainability is the key for a luxury company.

The Danish Fashion Institute is leading an initiative to promote environmental responsibility by hosting the world’s largest conference on sustainable fashion in Copenhagen from May 10 to 12. In the U.S., the Council of Fashion Designers of America has teamed with Lexus for an annual “eco-fashion challenge,” a competition that awards cash prizes to three small, young companies committed to creating environmentally responsible fashion lines.

In jewelry, brands including Tiffany & Company and Chopard have announced they are using ethically mined gems, recycling gold, silver and platinum and working with ecologically conscious mines. Chopard is aiming to become entirely sustainable. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the company’s co-president, called it a bold commitment, which needs to be pursued.

Source: NYT

Image Credit: Flickr via Abby Lanes