PARIS — As sustainability battles heat up across the fashion industry — from fast fashion to luxury — Kering has forged ahead with its environmental profit-and-loss account, reporting it lowered its environmental impact by 14 percent between 2015 and 2018.
Drafting and publishing the system for tallying the environmental cost of its activities has been key to establishing Kering as an authority on sustainability issues, and it has topped a number of corporate rankings on the subject, including several times at the head of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for its category.
The group said it’s on a “positive trajectory” to reach its 40 percent reduction in environmental impacts by 2025.
“The results are very promising,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, speaking at a press conference presenting the report, on the sidelines of the ChangeNow summit at the Grand Palais in Paris. The company gathered its own executives as well as those from other organizations, and Plug and Play to talk about its progress and areas to improve. Samples of materials like certified, sustainable wool from New Zealand, organic silk and viscose with a Forest Stewardship Council certification were on display at the back of the room — from Kering’s Material Innovation Lab.
“Kering was the first profit-and-loss [report] out there, I think it was quite difficult — wasn’t it? — to produce these results, to stand up and say in our supply chain, we’ve got some challenges to face,” said Mark Gough, chief executive officer of Natural Capital Coalition, an association of companies with an environmental focus.
“It’s now an international standard…very much based on the work that Kering has done,” he said, noting that companies in other sectors are similarly using EP&L reports.
Kering cited progress in other areas, including reducing the intensity of its greenhouse emissions by 77 percent, and sourcing only “responsible” gold for its watches and jewelry division. It has reached 88 percent of traceability for key raw materials, with a goal of reaching 100 percent by 2025.
Kering executives said the EP&L report has helped identify areas where improvement is needed.
“When I joined the fashion industry, people were thinking about the store and the impact of the lights of the store, we thought about that…but we’ve gone way deeper into the supply chain — that’s where over 66 percent of the impacts are, in the raw materials, and half as much again, into the transformation of the raw materials into what we’re wearing,” said Michael Beutler, director of sustainability operations at Kering.
Christine Goulay, sustainable innovation senior manager, outlined the company’s plans to provide its watches and jewelry business with support to find new materials, noting that scratch-resistant sapphire glass used for watches uses a of heat and energy to produce.
The company in November launched a road show tour with analysts and investors in France and the U.K. focused on its environmental, social and governance criteria, offering evidence that interest in the subjects is gaining ground with investors.