MILAN — Gucci is making strides in circularity, with a little help from its parent Kering.
The Italian luxury house is introducing the “Circular Hub,” an innovation platform aimed at redefining its Italian value chain across sourcing, design, manufacturing and logistics.
The Circular Hub will be housed at Kering’s facilities in Tuscany, spread across two of Gucci’s production sites, in Scandicci, known as ArtLab, and Novara, Italy, as well as the brand’s Italy-based material suppliers and finished goods manufacturers. The company said it involves 4,200 enterprises between direct and sub-suppliers overall.
The hub is set to spearhead the creation of circularity-embedded luxury products boosting the fashion brand’s use of recycled materials and enhancing durability, repairability and recyclability of its goods. Seen as a pilot, the innovation platform is poised to involve other Kering brands in due time and be made available to the entire fashion sector as an open source.
The brand and its parent are investing 15 million euros over three years for the project.
“The fashion industry needs to accelerate and launch serious actions to catalyze deep change, rethinking the way we produce and use resources as well. The creation of our Circular Hub represents a milestone that goes in this direction. I am extremely pleased that the hub will see the light in Italy, home of some of the group’s strongest and most renowned production hubs and know-how,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability and institutional affairs officer at Kering.
“Joining forces with Gucci for the Circular Hub not only is a testament of collective conviction within the group, but also an ambitious example to pave the way for other players who will be happy to join in the future, in an open-source perspective,” she said.
The Circular Hub will focus on key areas of circular advancement including research and development; logistics; industrial partnerships, and value sharing.
The platform’s missions include creating a research center tasked with studying and promoting circular principles and solutions, from sourcing of low-impact raw materials to improving durability and optimizing manufacturing processes; enhancing traceability across the supply chain and making leftover management more efficient to promote pre-consumer material recycling and reuse; scouting industrial partners to design and implement high-tech solutions and workflows geared at the reuse and regeneration of textiles and raw materials, and defining and embedding recycling and reuse processes throughout the manufacturing cycles, making them available to all suppliers and industrial partners.
The hub will leverage the know-how of Kering’s Material Innovation Lab, known as MIL, located at the luxury group’s Milan headquarters, as well as the expertise of Gucci professionals from the firm’s industrial complexes in Novara and Scandicci.
It has also forged a collaboration with the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, a special-statute, highly selective public research university located in Pisa, Italy. It will support the fashion brand in scouting science-led circular solutions and make industrial-scale research on the topic.
Gucci said the Circular Hub’s goal is two-pronged. In addition to championing a positive impact on the luxury fashion industry, it will strengthen the brand’s supply chain and advance the sustainable transition of local supply chains in the country, with the ultimate goal of promoting the development of a circular Made in Italy cycle.
“Circularity promotes a vision that involves the entire production cycle starting from raw materials: it presents a great challenge and an opportunity to make Made in Italy even stronger and more competitive,” said Antonella Centra, Gucci’s executive vice president, general counsel, corporate affairs, and sustainability.
“With the launch of the Circular Hub we will have the responsibility and above all the framework in place to create a pathway for the luxury industry of the future. By sharing the same objectives and pooling resources, know-how and synergies, the hub will enable the entire luxury supply chain and especially the small and medium-sized enterprises — the beating heart of our country’s industry — to play an active role, with the innovative spirit that makes Italian know-how unique in the world,” she offered.
The hub aligns with Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan and the circular economy targets set by the European Union to meet 2030 goals in terms of emissions reduction. To this end the project has been submitted to the Ministry of Enterprises and Made in Italy to receive funding.
The project is also in line with ESG goals of environmental performance and reduction of GHG emissions and exploitation of natural resources, as well as minimization of waste and pollution, while creating new employment opportunities.
For instance, Gucci estimates that the implementation of hub-led changes to its leather goods supply chain will help reduce GHG emissions generated from production waste management by 60 percent.