MILAN — The year of the coronavirus pandemic did not stop Prada’s commitment to corporate social responsibility — on the contrary.

“The recent events have given cause for deep reflection, benefiting the pursuit of solutions that demonstrate our continuous engagement and the intention to respond actively to external stimuli, while remaining consistent with our identity,” Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group’s head of corporate social responsibility, told WWD upon the publication of the company’s 2020 corporate sustainability report on Tuesday. “After years of investing in the construction, refurbishment and efficiency of the industrial facilities, as well as in photovoltaics and renewable energy, we have ambitiously reaffirmed our objectives and have started a process to measure our carbon footprint, necessary for determining ways to mitigate and reduce our environmental impact.”

Bertelli took on his current role in addition to head of marketing in January 2020 and, after spearheading the fur-free policy and the Re-Nylon collection, he has extended the use of the regenerated nylon to ready-to-wear, footwear and new accessories.

“We continue to explore materials deriving from alternative processes and sources,” continued Bertelli. “The Prada Re-Nylon project is a prime example; with its challenging goal to completely convert to regenerated nylon by the end of 2021, it has accelerated the paradigm shift needed for sustainable growth and that looks to the future with new solutions.”


Prada’s Re-Nylon backpack, an iconic style in new regenerated nylon.

Prada’s Re-Nylon backpack, an iconic style in new regenerated nylon.  Courtesy Photo

Last year the group launched the Prada A + P Luna Rossa 21 sneaker with Adidas, whose upper is composed of Primegreen, a series of high-performance recycled materials.

Promoting circularity, in October, the group launched the Upcycled by Miu Miu project reworking vintage designs from clothing stores and markets around the world, through the brand’s signature embroideries and embellishments, from ribbons and sequins to crystals, beads and bows and all finished by hand. Earlier this month, the group took another step in this direction with the Upcycled by Miu Miu x Levi’s capsule, comprising iconic Levi’s denim silhouettes, refashioned with the Italian brand’s treatment of sparkle and shine. 

Last year, the company inked a second sustainability-linked loan for a total of 75 million euros with the Milan branch of Mizuho Bank Ltd.  Prada in November 2019 signed with Crédit Agricole Group, the first sustainability-linked loan in the luxury goods industry. As per the agreement, Prada will be granted 50 million euros over five years through a sustainability term loan, introducing an annual pricing adjustment based on the achievement of sustainability targets. Last February, Prada signed a new sustainability-linked, five-year loan with UniCredit banking group for a total of 90 million euros. The loan is linked to key performance indicators: the regeneration and reconversion of production waste and Prada’s ability to increase the share of self-produced energy.

With a focus on the environment, the report highlighted the following:

• Packaging with recycled or certified paper up to 89 percent and recycled plastic up to 49 percent;

• The first Prada Group Carbon Footprint Assessment;

• Ten photovoltaic owned plants contribute to cover 24 percent of the Italian industrial sites’ energy needs and avoid generating 699 tons of CO2 emissions;

• Forty-three percent of the energy purchased at global scale comes from certified renewable sources;

• Fifty-eight LEED Certifications.

Last year, Prada also appointed Malika Savell chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Prada North America. But her role is a global one as she is responsible for developing policies, strategies and programs to help ensure diverse representation of cultures and perspectives at all levels of the company.

Previously, Savell was the director of cultural diversity-partnerships and engagement at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Savell and Bertelli work with the Prada Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council co-chaired by artist and activist Theaster Gates and award-winning writer, director and producer Ava DuVernay.

Prada underscored that 62 percent of its employees are women and 57 percent of top executives are women. The average age of employees is 38.8 and the group’s employees are representative of 104 nationalities. Out of the total contracts, 92 percent are permanent.

The group has joined the Valuable 500, committing to support disability within the company.

Taking an active stance in the pandemic, in March, Prada’s chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli said that, as it has done in the past, the company was “completely available to take on an active role to protect the health of its employees against COVID-19” and offered all of its headquarters and plants in Italy to be used for the vaccination campaign.

Last year, Prada actively supported scientific research supporting the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan investigating the disparity in the impact of COVID-19 on men and women. Before that, it had converted the production of its Montone, Italy-based factory to supply 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks to health care personnel, upon a request received by the Tuscany region. The initiative followed the donation of six intensive care units made on March 16 by Prada’s co-CEOs Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada, along with then-chairman Carlo Mazzi.

Prada also partnered with UNESCO to support the education of girls threatened by the pandemic and on an education program for high school students worldwide to raise awareness of, and promote, more responsible behavior toward the oceans.

In September, Prada held the fourth edition of the Shaping a Future conference dedicated to sustainability despite the uncertainties connected to the coronavirus pandemic. The “Shaping a Sustainable Multilateralism” conference at Ca’ Corner della Regina in Venice, one of the Fondazione Prada’s headquarters, was a two-day event promoted by the Soft Power Club, a new private organization whose goal is to stimulate diplomacy at a cultural level and multilateral relations between the public and private sectors to encourage social progress.