Goats in Mongolia, where Kering is working with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

PARIS — Setting the wheels in motion for its biodiversity program, Kering launched a call for applications to its fund geared toward converting land use to regenerative farming practices. The group held an online discussion with Conservation International, its partner for the program, with the participation of executives from the nonprofit organization Textile Exchange.

“Agriculture is currently one of the world’s major drivers of biodiversity loss and also climate change and I think it can actually be transformed into a force for good,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer, making a case for the fashion industry to change its approach to sourcing raw materials.

“We want to reframe fashion’s relationship with nature by accelerating the transformation to more sustainable and regenerative raw material production,” added Daveu.

Kering has been working on sustainability issues for a decade, and formalized its strategy to promote biodiversity last July, revealing plans to convert 1 million hectares, or 2.47 million acres, of land used to supply the fashion industry into regenerative agriculture, as well as preserve an additional 1 million hectares of critical habitat lands. The group committed five million euros over five years.

The online discussions introduced by Daveu included Textile Exchange chief executive officer La Rhea Pepper, who explained how farm practices can lower the carbon footprint of the agriculture industry, and Bambi Semroc of Conservation International, who noted that 30 percent of solutions for climate change include protecting forests.

Kering executives Katrina ole-MoiYoi, a sustainable sourcing specialist, and Yoann Regent, a biodiversity and animal welfare specialist, also took part in the presentation, outlining the group’s focus on leather, wool, cotton and cashmere, and offering a list of criteria of regenerative agriculture which include increasing the capacity of soils to sequester carbon, protecting and restoring plant and animal diversity, eliminating the use of synthetic, agrochemical inputs, supporting the livelihoods of farmers and improving the welfare of farmed animals.

Grant applications are due April 30.

Kering was ranked as one of the top 10 most sustainable companies in the world earlier this week by Corporate Knights’ 2021 annual Global 100 rankings, unveiled during the virtual World Economic Forum in Davos.

The group was also recognized for efforts in diversity and inclusion, gaining recognition as the best place to work for LGBTQ equality by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and obtained a perfect score on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

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