PARIS — Four years after making public its targets for sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, Kering on Tuesday unveiled the results of the initiative, and announced it would be setting out the next phase of its environmental strategy in November, with a plan for the following 10 years.
The luxury and sport and lifestyle group — which owns brands including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Puma and Boucheron — said that although results were mixed, it was satisfied overall with its progress toward meeting its targets, though it noted that improving its supply chain would require collaboration from other sectors.
“The targets we committed to in 2012 guided us to build robust and responsible approaches to address challenges within our business, and beyond, such as climate change. These approaches are now integrated into our business and I am convinced that this has built the strong foundation necessary across our group in order to go even further in the future,” François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, said in a statement.
“We will continue to enhance and expand our sustainability efforts to accelerate change in our own business and across the industry, particularly through our open-sourcing philosophy,” he added, referring to the fact that Kering shares the methodology for the environmental profit and loss accounting, for instance.
Kering published an 80-page report detailing its progress on the use of raw materials such as leather, PVC, precious skins and furs, gold and diamonds and paper and packaging. It also addressed issues such as carbon emissions, water use and waste production.
Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering, took part in a Webcast to explain the report and answer questions from a live chat. “We are very pleased with our overall achievement,” she said.
For instance, Kering said in 2012 that leather from domestic livestock used for its products — which represents 24 percent of its total environmental impact — should be from responsible and verified sources that do not convert sensitive ecosystems into grazing or agricultural lands.
The group met 91 percent of its target for luxury bovine leather, 69 percent for luxury leather overall, and 64 percent for group leather, according to the report.
Daveu noted the group had also pledged to eliminate PVC from its collections by 2016. “Over 99 percent of our stockkeeping units are PVC-free, so that shows that you can find innovative, sustainable solutions,” she said.
For example, Stella McCartney has launched a number of shoe collections with soles made from the biodegradable bio-plastic APINAT, while Gucci has developed a range of eyewear frames made from natural materials such as bio-acetate and castor seeds.
Kering also committed in 2012 to sourcing 100 percent of its paper and packaging from certified sustainable managed forests with a minimum of 50 percent recycled content. It achieved this for 81 percent of its paper and packaging by the end of 2015, Daveu noted.
On the downside, it failed to meet its target of cutting carbon emissions, water usage and waste output by 25 percent, achieving reductions of 11 percent, 19 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
Among the challenges ahead are extending the original targets to a broader range of raw materials including cashmere, wool, silk and cotton, the report found. Daveu added that the group’s influence remained limited when it came to fundamental changes in the supply chains, for example in the agricultural and mineral sectors.
“That’s why for me, it’s really key to work with other sectors such as [the] food industry but also [the] car industry. I really think that if we want to change [the] paradigm and if we want really to put this kind of thing at the right level and at the right scale, we need to work closely with other sectors,” she said.
Daveu said the 2025 targets that will be unveiled later this year would build on its existing experience. “Our ambition is really to put at scale the pilot projects we have already implemented inside the group, but of course it’s to go beyond and above all, to be innovative,” she said. “We want really to continue to be a step ahead.”
Kering was confirmed last year by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices as the industry leader heading up the textiles, apparel and luxury-goods sectors for the second consecutive year. The DJSI tracks the performance of the 2,500 companies listed in the Dow Jones Global Total Stock Market Index.
Kering pegged the value of its impact on the environment in 2014 at 792.8 million euros, or $1.05 billion, with more than half of the tally associated with raw materials. This represented an increase of 2.2 percent versus 2013, which Kering noted was lower than the group’s revenue growth of 4.5 percent, suggesting it made some improvements in its environmental footprint.