Future life

NEW YORK — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton continued its momentum surrounding its Future Life series, with executives from Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Benefit Cosmetics, Fresh, Marc Jacobs and Colgin Cellars, speaking on how each Maison is putting sustainability into action.

While the recent Future Life event in Paris counted Stella McCartney as its “sustainability sherpa” and special guest, the New York event enjoyed sustainability “role model,” Gabriela Hearst, who offered remarks after the introduction.

The Future Life series serves as an educational moment for LVMH’s broader environmental policies including its Life 2020 objectives which focus on four objectives: product, sector, climate change and sites.

Sylvie Bénard, group environment director for LVMH; and Anish Melwani, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH North America; served as masters of ceremony. Julie Gilhart, president, Tomorrow Consulting, LTD.; and Cara Smyth, Glasgow Caledonian University New York vice president and founder, The Fair Fashion Center; also shared their perspectives.

In advance of the event, WWD interviewed Ms. Bénard to examine how the Group is measuring and tracking its environmental performance. “Today, we really want to work on CO2 [emissions] and biodiversity, and all these issues to reduce the footprint,” said Ms. Bénard. LVMH is anchored in a 27-year-old program to which Ms. Bénard has guided throughout.

Ms. Bénard mentioned some core focuses of each sector, which was exemplified by the event’s presentations. The Group’s beauty brands are, at the moment, focused on reducing packaging waste to which Benefit showcased the eco-design principles, what Yongyi Mason, head of purchasing and sustainability at Benefit called “a source of innovation and creativity.” While for fashion, the focus is the supply chain; and at the retail level, a store’s energy use.

Eco-design is a large pillar of the LVMH Group’s environmental policy, which includes product as well as facilities, including the newly christened Louis Vuitton facility in Alvarado, Tex.

Also at the event, Sephora U.S. announced 100-percent renewable energy to be facilitated across all its U.S. stores, headquarters and distribution centers.

LVMH also touted its special partnership Man and Biosphere (MAB) with UNESCO in an effort to improve ecosystem resilience of the Amazon, representing an investment of 5 million Euros; this is just a part of a larger investment of resources by the Group.

Considering the Group operates 75 houses across six different sectors, measuring impact is complicated. Within LVMH’s fashion sector, every Maison engages in training and exchanges “best practices” every three months.

“The solution for one brand is not the same for others; that is the pleasure and difficulty of my job. You have to absolutely understand the brands, the materials that you are going to use, the market of that product to help them,” said Ms. Bénard. “And what is good for Dior may not be good for Guerlain, for example,” she reiterated.

For Marc Jacobs, Fab Scrap is a partnership the brand found to be useful, while Paul Roberts, chief operating officer at Colgin Cellars said, it’s “our vines and our people.” Water use is one of the major impacts of the wine and spirits industry.

Fresh

Fresh, told the story behind its lotus-based products.  Courtesy Image

Taking carbon impact as an example, the Group reduced its emissions 16-percent in 2018 on a like-for-like basis, within a 25-percent reduction target for year-end 2020. Yet, on the other hand, energy consumption increased, which Ms. Bénard attributes to portfolio growth and increased focus on green energy sources which already represents 27 percent of the Group’s energy mix.

Last year, sustainable consulting firm Quantis found that the most effective way the apparel and footwear industries can achieve an ambitious industrywide emission reduction is to focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency across their supply chains.

As for its reporting measures, Cascade is its proprietary reporting tool, while the Group invests in third-party auditing for the completion of “shadow audits.” When WWD asked Ms. Bénard if she foresees a comparable standardization needed for the industry, she said: “Of course, if it can be enforced by the government.”

Environmental impact reduction can come in stride with economic growth: LVMH Group saw a 17-percent revenue gains in Q3 compared to the same period in 2018.

For More Sustainability News, See:

Two Dozen Companies Join Kering-Led Fashion Pact

Stella McCartney Steps Up as LVMH Sustainability Sherpa

Kering Sales Rise 14.2% in Q3 as Gucci Exceeds Expectations

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