MILAN — “We have to walk the talk, ” said Bally’s chief executive officer Nicolas Girotto, emphasizing the company’s long-term sustainability objectives. “Today brands must have purpose beyond profit, and leverage their reach and vitality to address global issues.”
Girotto and Bally are putting good intentions into actions and the executive unveiled to WWD the second chapter of the Bally Peak Outlook initiative, first launched last year. Further signaling the company’s engagement, Bally, a signatory of the global Fashion Pact, will upload its Sustainability Roadmap on its web site on Jan. 28, based on four pillars — transparency, quality, collaboration and progress — with the goal to reduce the company’s footprint. “We owe this transparency to the customer,” said Girotto. “We are being proactive and have concrete targets.” Girotto underscored how the company’s efforts were all “fundamental” and “not a marketing gimmick.”
Although the company does not disclose figures, Bally Peak Outlook is the company’s single biggest charitable initiative globally.
In addition, Bally is establishing the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation, reflecting the company’s long-term commitment to preserve extreme mountain environments, and sponsor critical clean-ups of Mount Everest and seven 8,000-meter peaks in the Himalayan region over the course of two years, by 2022, working with the local Sherpa communities. At the end of May and June 2020, after the climbing season closes, Bally’s 2020 expedition will include Everest Base Camp at 5,380 meters as well as the base camps of Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Cho Oyu.
Girotto said that 100 percent of proceeds from dedicated capsules will be channeled into funding the foundation and other related activities.
The Bally Peak Outlook was launched in 2019 with a clean-up of Mount Everest over two weeks between May and June, removing two tons of waste from the majestic peak down to base camp. The objective of the long-term initiative is to bring awareness to the impact of outdoor tourism on extreme mountain environments worldwide.
To support the Everest community, Bally, which is based in Switzerland, will continue its relationship with Dawa Steven Sherpa, who helped communicate the project in Milan during a panel discussion in October, and author Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who wore Bally reindeer boots when he made history in first reaching Mount Everest’s summit alongside Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.
“There is an emotional and literal bond in all this,” said Girotto. Tenzing Norgay will join Bally in March in Munich to amplify awareness on the Peak Outlook. “We think this direct contact with the audience is important, with these personalities engaging with customers to raise awareness and explain what we are doing, as we also communicate through social media and our site in a multifaceted way.”
Bally will also continue to work with the Tenzing Norgay Foundation through a two-year partnership to support environmental initiatives within the Himalayas and educational projects.
Bally is partnering with a variety of mountaineering organizations to sponsor future expeditions, such as one on Mount Fuji in September with the Fuji Club, which supports regular volunteer-based clean-up programs.
The company has confirmed a two-year partnership with the UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation) in Bern, Switzerland, to help extend their efforts in mountain preservation and it has sponsored the annual Mountain Protection Award (2020–21).
As per the roadmap, transparency will allow for greater corporate accountability and governance and Bally is aiming at mapping 90 percent of tier-one, two and three suppliers by 2022. While improving sourcing, Bally also plans to develop longevity programs targeting product care and repair by 2022, and ensure 100 percent traceability of all leather back to farms, with 75 percent of leather purchased from certified tanneries by 2025. “We will also strive to ensure 95 percent of raw materials are traceable to farm level by 2025,” said Girotto.
The company is also committing to introduce a fully circular product to the market by 2025, reducing single-use plastics in B2B and B2C product packaging by 30 percent in 2025, and by 100 percent in 2030 and founding Bally’s Center of Excellence for education, research and development in sustainability in 2022. Girotto said Bally has banned precious skins and fur from the brand’s production.
Developing an employee engagement program to include local volunteering activities, in the spring or summer, Bally will host 50 employees for a coordinated clean-up at Jungfrau-Aletsch in Switzerland in collaboration with the World Nature Forum and the UIAA.
Bally has also long been fostering several cultural activities. “We see individuals before employees,” said Girotto, expressing his pride in all these undertakings. In 2006, The Bally Foundation was founded to cultivate emerging artists through its “Artist of the Year” program, based in Ticino, Switzerland. Bally Crafting Futures has been providing educational opportunities since 2016 and Bally is a sponsor of the Fashion Innovation Awards in collaboration with Swiss investment management firm Loomish, engaging start-ups that address sustainability in the fashion industry. The finalists will be invited to pitch in Lugano, Switzerland, on March 31 in front of an international jury panel composed of industry executives, tech leaders and investors.