PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is doing a deep-dive into dirt at Cop27.
It represents the world’s largest luxury group’s commitment to biodiversity and soil health as the world’s political and business leaders gather in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the U.N. conference on the climate crisis.
LVMH will join forces with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, established by King Charles III in 2020, to support its latest Living Lab with a new regenerative agriculture project based in Chad, the company said Monday. The new lab will focus on regenerative agroforestry in an effort to restore land around Lake Chad, which has lost 90 percent of its volume since the ’60s due to water-intensive cotton production.
The project will work with the local community to establish nurseries and plant trees, as well as provide equipment and irrigation technology to farmers. The Living Lab is a major step for LVMH to support its biodiversity targets.
“These new practices have the ability to reverse biodiversity loss and to save water,” LVMH environmental development director Hélène Valade told WWD. “The overall goal should be to move from intensive monoculture to extensive multi-cropping. And in doing this, we improve the quality of the soil and therefore its capacity to store carbon.”
The group is also co-organizing a roundtable on regenerative agriculture with One Planet Business for Biodiversity, or OP2B, and soil health and impact analysis firm Genesis to introduce its global strategy and how brands are implementing techniques within their supply chain. OP2B works with Kering, L’Oréal, Symrise, and Unilever, among others.
The Moët Hennessy wine and spirits arm will participate in the “Soils, the silent ally that feeds us” panel, once again discussing soil health and regenerative agriculture.
If it seems odd that the world’s largest luxury group is focusing on dirt, Valade noted that biodiversity and regenerative agriculture are strategic steps in shoring up their raw materials sourcing. She said wine and spirits is one of the categories most hard hit by climate change, and will face the most change that can potentially be offset by regenerative agriculture.
“It’s absolutely key to talk about this subject of biodiversity and to integrate these new parties and new practices into our supply chain,” she said.
Valade said LVMH was present at last year’s Cop26 in Glasgow, Scotland, which took place just as the world was opening up again from pandemic restrictions.
“This year, Cop takes place in a very tense geopolitical context. That is why it’s very important that companies show they are mobilized on the climate issue,” said Valade.
The conference comes as the U.N. reported that the last eight yeas were the hottest ever on record, and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that wealthy and poor countries must reach agreements on how to avoid climate breakdown. If the world does not take action, “we will be doomed,” he said.
Egypt holds the conference presidency this time around and set out its vision as the “implementation Cop” to promote specific actions and urge participants to find solutions to execute on past promises.
Fashion had a big presence at Cop26 and will be present again with a variety of events and sidebars. But Valade said it is not just fashion companies that need to be at the table this time around. “At this Cop there are a lot of players and not only fashion players, and the challenge is to contribute to discussions also with other actors.”
“It’s important to share our best practices but also our difficulties. Because to be honest it is difficult to change habits and to change processes,” she said. “There is a gap between changing opinions and changing behaviors because behind behaviors, there are processes. Our biggest challenge is to change habits.”