PARIS – As Europe tightens its energy belt, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has revealed plans to reduce electricity use by 10 percent across the group.
Antoine Arnault, LVMH head of image and environment, told WWD the move is in line with the company’s long-term values.
“Although our group is a low energy consumer, we are aware of the visibility and the impact our decisions can have in leading the way for others. This energy efficiency plan represents an unprecedented effort that we hope will have a virtuous effect on the entire sector and beyond,” he said. “We are acting today in a very concrete way to respond to the unprecedented energy crisis before us.”
The parent company of Celine, Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo, Loewe and Louis Vuitton, among others, will cut its consumption by turning off the lights across all of its stores between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Administrative offices will call for lights out at 9 p.m.
The group will also lower the heating by 1 degree Celsius in all stores this winter, and keep air conditioning 1 degree Celsius higher in the coming summer, to reach French government targets.
“Following the call of the president of the French Republic and the French government, LVMH announces an energy efficiency plan in order to make a concrete and immediate contribution to the national effort,” the company added in a statement.
On Sept. 5, French President Emmanuel Macron rallied the country and called for a 10 percent reduction in energy use as the EU grapples with supply issues following the shutdown of Russian gas pipelines over the war in Ukraine, as well as lower power-plant output following this summer’s unprecedented drought. Macron urged businesses to save energy by turning down heating and air conditioning and called for a new age of “energy sobriety.”
Since every kilowatt counts, LVMH will also launch an awareness campaign for employees to turn off lights and screens, as well as unplug other electronics. The program will begin in France, where LVMH has 34,000 employees, before being rolled out worldwide.
Individual brands will be able to set additional targets. Champagne and spirits house Moët Hennessy has set an internal target of a 15 percent reduction worldwide by 2023, the company noted.
In France, the company currently uses enough megawatts to power the mid-sized city of Dijon for a year, and credits all of that to green sources. Globally, renewable energy use is at 39 percent, while its Life 360 sustainability plan aims to make that 100 percent renewable or low-carbon by 2026.
Arnault has been key in spearheading the group’s sustainability policy, including the Life 360 plan. A report issued in 2021 calculated its carbon footprint at 4.8 million tons of CO2 equivalent, with a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 50 percent by 2026, compared to a baseline from 2019, by using renewable energy, and cutting Scope 3 emissions by roughly half in the next 10 years.
“We have always had an ambitious environmental policy and this new commitment advances the timeline of one of our Life 360 objectives. This energy-efficiency plan is aligned with our long-standing vision: more than an obligation, preserving the environment is an imperative. We do not have the luxury of waiting,” Arnault said.
The move makes LVMH the first major luxury player to heed Macron’s call to action. The groupwide effort is a major undertaking for the luxury conglomerate, which oversees 75 maisons across six sectors including fashion and leather goods, watches and jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics, wines and spirits as well as hotels and specialty retailers.
The company was also an early actor during the COVID-19 shutdowns, when it shifted fragrance factories to producing hand gel, and shut down its stores in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. Arnault said the company tries to act quickly in the face of “extraordinary events.”
“It is our duty to be exemplary in our operations,” Arnault added.
France’s energy crunch and accompanying price spikes of up to 25 percent have led to some energy-intensive industries such as steel and glass to scale down production or temporarily close as they head into winter.
As part of the nationwide energy reduction efforts, even the Eiffel Tower will also go dark more than an hour earlier, shutting off its sparkling lights at 11:45 p.m.