Updated: Aug 30, 2019
In the fashion industry, business goals often counteract sustainability goals. Fashion houses will commit to actions such as discontinuing the use of controversial materials like fur, or promise to stop the destruction of its unsold stock; but at the same time, these companies also compete for social-media attention by producing the most extravagant runway shows, shows that result in more pollution and the use of more natural resources. A recent example of this is the Saint Laurent Men's Spring/Summer 2020 show held on the beaches of Malibu in June. Consumers, investors, and regulators increasingly demand that the fashion industry curb its destructive environmental impact.
Reports claim that the fashion industry is currently the number two polluter of water in the world and accounts for 8% of carbon emissions worldwide. Due to this trend, Kering chairman Francois-Henri Pinault started a sustainability pact that he wants other global fashion companies to join. The initiative includes goals to switch to renewable energy and to eliminate single-use plastics. French President Emmanuel Macron listed the issue on the G7 summit agenda that will be held in Biarritz, France later this month and asked Pinault to spearhead the initiative.
Kering is pressuring its suppliers to be more transparent about the source of its raw materials, and Pinault is pushing tanneries to invest in new processes that do not use the pollutant chromium. Because the fashion industry is not vertically integrated, the detrimental effect of a material is very difficult to ascertain without understanding the material's complete life cycle from farm to factory. Kering publishes its own "environmental profit and loss" accounting for anyone to view which illustrates how its supply chain is affecting the environment. Its goal is to reduce its environmental impact relative to sales by 40%.
To learn more, please read the Bloomberg article here.
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