ECO GEEKS: Applying technology to sustainability issues, Kering hosted its first “Hack to Act” hackathon over the weekend, bringing together 80 established and aspiring tech developers and industry experts to update a group application linked to its environmental profit and loss account.
The event comes against a backdrop of rising consumer concern over the fashion industry’s environmental track record — a clamor that has grown louder since Kering announced plans to host the event in June, with an outpouring of concern on social media over forest fires in the Amazon and the global climate strike in September that drew millions to the streets.
Kering chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu presided over the two-day hackathon event held in Paris over the weekend, awarding a project called “Core” for enlarging the scope of an existing application to also help clients find more eco-friendly options from a brand or collection’s current season.
Daveu, who has said technology and innovation will be key to achieving group sustainability targets, noted that the event resulted in projects that would help the group use its EP&L data for broader use by design teams, supply chains and clients.
The board of jury members included Kering executives Patrick Pruniaux, who heads watch houses Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux; Antonella Centra, charged with sustainability matters at Gucci; and Nicolas Polaillon who handles data, client relationship management and artificial intelligence at the group level. External members included the chief executive officer of Corporate Knights Toby Heaps, WWF International president Pavan Sukhdev and Omer Mahmood, an engineer for Google’s cloud operations.
Around 80 people were selected from a pool of 250 candidates to take part in the competition aimed at improving understanding about the environmental impact of luxury fashion.
Competitors were given data from the group’s EP&L, which has been used to develop an application geared at training designers, to encourage them to take environmental considerations into account at the beginning of the design stage, estimating the cost of various items depending on what materials are used, as well as where they are sourced and manufactured.
The winning team, which grabbed the 10,000 euro prize, was made up of Yifan Ding, an interaction and user experience designer; data scientist Katia Sahi; artistic director Kevin Bertin; data analysts Badreddine Lebbat and Hamid Lafredi; and data engineer and scientist Youness Drissi Slimani.
Two other projects were short-listed.