Kering and its goal to become an eco-conscious fashion giant

Fashion giant Kering uses innovations to boost ESG progress across its entire supply chain as it seeks to lead eco-conscious brands and a circular economy

French luxury conglomerate Kering has made major changes across its supply chain to set an example to the fashion world as well as a message to the wider fast fashion and fast-moving-consumer-goods sectors. 

The fashion major, whose brands include the houses of Gucci and Balenciaga, is marking itself out through environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and a commitment to a sustainable, circular economy. 

Kering is the initiator of the Fashion Pact, the product of a mission from French President Emmanuel Macron to Kering Chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault. Macron tasked Pinault to create a transnational coalition of companies in the fashion and textile industry to stop global warming, restore biodiversity and protect the oceans. It was presented to Heads of State at the G7 Summit in Biarritz on December 12, 2020.

Starting 2022 with an eco-conscious bang in fashion

After declaring it would phase out fur from all its brands from Fall 2022, Kering teamed up with Fashion For Good in January. It joins companies like Adidas, US clothing giant PVH Corp, and Indian textile manufacturer Arvind Limited. The collaboration is expected to reduce the environmental impact of materials processing through a scheme called the D(R)YE Factory of the Future.

Materials processing, according to Fashion For Good, is responsible for 52% of emissions created in the fashion supply chain. The process includes chemicals-intensive processes such as pre-treatment, colouration, and finishing of textiles. The collaboration aims to advance dry processing technologies, such as plasma and laser treatments, spray dyeing, foam dyeing and supercritical CO2.

With minimum to no toxins released into the water, the innovations will reduce the environmental impact of pre-treatment and colouration of cotton, polyester, blends, wool, and denim by 89% for emissions and 83-95% for water consumption. The scheme plans to publish a report in late 2022.

The Fashion Pact, The Circularity Ambition, and the EP&L tools

Kering was the only luxury corporation to make it to the top 10 sustainable companies’ list for 2022 by SG Analytics. The parent company of Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Ulysse Nardin, and Pomellato maintained its strong position when evaluated against 24 quantitative KPIs.

These KPIs include resource management, people management, financial management, supplier performance, and clean revenue and investment. CEO of Conservation International, Dr M. Sanjayan, said Kering’s ESG commitment represents a massive leap for the luxury fashion sector.

According to Kering’s 2017-2025 roadmap, the company uses a holistic approach through sustainable innovation to primarily address circularity, raw materials, innovation labs, production processes, new business models, as well as upcycling, recycling, and regeneration.

To measure its progress, Kering has developed the Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) especially to measure and quantify the environmental impact of its activities.

In 2021, Kering published its Circularity Ambition that sets out four priorities: to promote a luxury that lasts, adopt a holistic approach, innovate for better resource management, and collaborate with the entire industry. 

These four focuses are in line with Kering’s 2025 Sustainability Strategy, which was released in 2017 with a target to reduce its environmental footprint by 40%. The group described their approach with three pillars: Care, Collaborate, and Create. It aims to reduce its environmental footprint through the use of innovative tools (Care), promotes diversity and becomes an employer of choice (Collaborate) and offers creative alternatives using an open-source approach (Create).

The group released Sustainability Progress Report 2017-2020 to show the progress of its 2025 Sustainability Strategy. Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer And Head of International Institutional Affairs of Kering, said the report “reflects the very encouraging achievements Kering has made”. The company reported saving 8,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from 2015 to 2018, including an average reduction of 19% of greenhouse gas emissions and a 70% reduction of risk from the use of hazardous chemicals.

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