PARIS — Kering has revealed the second phase of its sustainability strategy, to run through 2025, a three-pillar plan targeting environmental impact, social aspects and innovation.
“More than ever, I am convinced that sustainability can redefine business value and drive future growth,” stated François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, which owns brands including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Puma and Boucheron.
“As business leaders, we all have a crucial role to play and I worked with the ceo’s of our luxury maisons to embed sustainability across our activities while developing this next important phase of our sustainability strategy.”
The program includes a plan to reduce the firm’s environmental footprint by 40 percent, from a 2015 base, by 2025.
The strategy will focus on three pillars: Care, devoted to the environment; Collaborate, for social aspects of sustainability like employee and supplier community welfare and equality, and Create, dealing with new business opportunities.
The firm’s previous sustainability road map for 2012 to 2016 focused 90 percent on environmental commitments, which the company measures using Environmental Profit & Loss accounting, Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering, explained.
Reducing the impact of the firm’s EP&L by 40 percent will be challenging, said Daveu, who added that “93 percent of our impact comes from our supply chain.”
“We know how to achieve 20 percent,” she continued — for example by rolling out initiatives concerning sustainable or organic cotton, silk, viscose and wool and eliminating heavy metal used in tanning group-wide.
“For the other 20 percent, we need to rely on innovation,” she said, for example in raw materials, by collaborating with innovative start-ups and universities to develop alternative materials and technologies. The company will also create an open-source tool for assessing products based on its standards.
“We need to use sustainable development to create something and provoke new business opportunities,” said Daveu. “Innovation is an indispensable driver.”
Another part of the program is ensuring 100 percent of Kering’s suppliers have integrated its standards for raw materials and processing by 2025, with the creation of a Supplier Index of Sustainability.
Working with small suppliers to help them develop compliance is also key, said Daveu. Kering plans to provide better support for suppliers, helping them build action plans that will secure both skills and supply looking forward.
In highly specialized segments where competitors often share the same suppliers, collaborating on an industry level is also key, Daveu said.
“There are things we have been extremely successful with,” she said, “and there are subjects that are more complex, for example guaranteeing the sustainability of 100 percent of our precious skins.”
She continued, “We have gone part of the way, and realized that there are certain segments where we can work alone, such as organic cotton, and others, like precious skins, where we cannot.”
Kering will create a Materials Innovation Lab for jewelry and watchmaking, as it has already done in fabrics, in order to improve processes and find new materials.
The company also plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent within the same timeframe. It will report on progress toward its targets every three years.
The “Collaborate” pillar, meanwhile, aims to move toward gender parity, equal pay and well-being within the workforce, including a global parental policy implemented this month, a well-being at work policy intended for 2018, and an employee benefits scheme for 2020.
Kering also plans to create what it calls a Young Leaders Advisory Group over the next year in order to tap Millennial talent to challenge its leaders on a variety of subjects. Around 12 young people will be recruited from universities, working groups and within the company to discuss with Kering’s advisory board a variety of subjects, with the intention of provoking ways of looking at business from the perspective of the digital generation.
Over the past year, the group has worked with its executive teams and designers at each of its brands to define targets. “If people are not completely on board when it comes to sustainable development subjects, we will never be able to provoke change,” said Daveu.