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In April, French president Emmanuel Macron tapped Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault (known for his leadership on sustainable business practices) to helm sustainability goals for leaders in the fashion and textile market in an effort to create “practical objectives for reducing the environmental impact of their industry,” according to a statement from Kering. The French luxury conglomerate’s stable of fashion brands includes Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.
Ahead of this weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France from Saturday, Aug. 24 through Monday, Aug. 26, Macron invited Pinault and representatives of 32 global fashion companies (representing 150 brands) that have signed the Fashion Pact so far to the Elysee Palace on Friday. Also on hand were the French ministers of labour, economy and finance and ecological and solidary transition, as well as Kering’s chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu.
The Fashion Pact’s three key goals are to create a plan to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, to restore biodiversity by reinstating natural ecosystems and protecting species and to protect the oceans with efforts such as eliminating single-use plastics by 2030.
According to a study by the environmental sustainability consulting group Quantis, the apparel and footwear industries generated roughly 8.1 percent of global pollution in 2016, which translates to 3,990 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Adidas, Burberry, Capri Holdings (Versace, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors), Carrefour, Chanel, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gap Inc. Giorgio Armani, H&M Group, Inditex (owner of Zara), Hermes, Karl Lagerfeld, Kering, Matchesfashion.com, Moncler, Nike, Nordstrom, Prada, Puma, PVH (umbrella to Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and other brands), Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Stella McCartney and Tapestry Inc. (Coach, Kate Spade New York and Stuart Weitzman) are among the global fashion companies that have signed the agreement to date.
Notably missing is global luxury group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The Stella McCartney label (formerly owned by Kering until McCartney bought back their share of her namesake brand in March) made a deal with LVMH in July. McCartney — a passionate vegetarian and animal rights advocate who has put her business at the forefront of sustainable, ethical fashion at the luxury level — was named a sustainability advisor to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which also owns Fenty, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Celine and Fendi.
“The coalition includes groups and brands in luxury, fashion, sports and lifestyle, along with supplier and retailers, all of whom are already involved in separate environmental strategies,” said the Kering statement.
“I would like to stress that this is something that seems to be quite historic — the creation of a coalition of actors in the private sector that are able to go before the G7, and its heads of state, and tell them that, separately from our government, the private sector can mobilize itself and work together,” said Daveu at today’s press conference. “I think that’s what the president had in mind and it’s an extremely strong moment.”
To further address fashion’s adverse impact on the environment, the French government proposed a measure in June to ban the destruction and disposal of unsold luxury goods (a practice that amounts to approximately $900 million worth of destroyed goods annually) by 2023.
Beyond signing the Fashion Pact, Nordstrom further announced on Friday the debut of a “sustainable style” shopping category on its e-commerce site, which includes 2,000 products from 90 brands that are “sustainably sourced, manufactured in factories that meet higher social or environmental standards and/or give back,” according to a press statement.
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