MILAN — Italian fashion is getting greener.
Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, Italy’s fashion chamber, on Monday introduced a document with guidelines for making retail sustainable. The manifesto will be available for consultation on the group’s web site starting from Tuesday.
“This is our green season,” said the Italian association’s president, Carlo Capasa, introducing the project, which has been in the pipeline for two years. The Camera will also host the first Green Carpet Fashion Awards Italia, developed in collaboration with Livia Firth’s Eco-Age, on Sept. 24 at the city’s La Scala Theater.
“We have the responsibility of [promoting] sustainability as we’re among the biggest producers of luxury [goods] worldwide,” Capasa said, underscoring how this is the first time a national fashion institution has released a document on sustainable retailing.
The executive explained how the goal is to first change the attitude toward the topic. “We’re trying to change the culture a little bit…and give our associates and consumers tools to measure sustainability, too,” Capasa said.
Compiled by the Goldmann & Partners Applied Sustainability Research Center, the tome directly engaged a Sustainability Work Group, including companies such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Loro Piana, Moncler, Tod’s, Valentino and Renzo Rosso’s OTB Group.
Capasa explained that the involvement of such big names was key in the success of the document, since the principles listed were not imposed top-down but were originated by the discussion and “the exchange of experiences, of [activities] accomplished and still in progress [made by] these brands, which are very active in retail.”
Divided into six chapters, the 302-page tome largely explains the importance of introducing sustainable elements in retail, in addition to providing a complete, technical list of dangerous materials and possible alternatives to be used in designing or renovating a store.
In particular, eight types of sustainability are examined in the document: territorial, social, environmental, anthropological, technological, energetic, administrative and economical sustainability.
The tome also analyzes in-depth key principles to consider in conceiving a sustainable retail concept, ranging from lighting to acoustics, from architectural elements to bio-climatic features. In particular, it contends, the latter directly impacts the time clients spend in a store and, consequentially, influences possible growth in sales of up to 30 percent.
All the sustainable actions suggested in the document are divided into degrees of applicability. Yellow actions are the easiest to implement, green ones are advanced, while blue indicates the ones requiring the biggest effort by companies. Capasa highlighted the importance of having the guidelines ranked, so that these can be applied to all concepts and retailers gradually, according to each company’s strategy and investment capacity.
In addition, he revealed that, by the end of the year, another document regarding the sustainable approach to production will be released, followed by ones on social responsibility and the recycling economy next year.
In 2012, Camera Nazionale della Moda and its members released the “Manifesto for Sustainability,” which included 10 focal points for more responsible practices in the industry. Last year the institution introduced guidelines that fashion companies can observe to progressively reduce the use of specific groups of chemicals in their manufacturing processes.