Luxury brand commits itself to 'eco-friendly' fashionJuly 2010
Gucci has become one of the first luxury fashion houses to tackle the sector's perceived environmental shortcomings by starting a worldwide sustainability programme.
The decision, following a pledge last year to the Rainforest Action Network to eliminate the use of paper from Indonesian rainforests, commits Gucci to reduce packaging, use paper that is recycled and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and to cut emissions.
The fashion group, whose brands include Stella McCartney and Yves Saint Laurent, aims, by the end of 2010, to have cut paper use by 1400 tons, carbon emissions by about 10,000 tons, and gas oil consumption by four million litres.
The company expects to achieve the targets with new packaging products and optimised paper use, less waste, and partnerships with certification schemes. By the end of this year, Gucci says, all non-recycled forest products will be FSC-certified.
The luxury goods industry has long been under fire for poor CSR performance, particularly on issues involving paper, which it uses heavily in packaging. This year Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren were accused of labour rights abuses in Indonesia, and many other companies are associated with rainforest destruction.
Businesses in the sector have frequently been ranked among the least sustainable in consumer goods company ratings by non-governmental organizations.
WWF argued last year, however, that luxury brand groups should, if anything, be more concerned about their social and environmental impacts than other companies because more of their brand value depends on 'empathy and trust', making them more vulnerable to challenge.
Patrizio di Marco, Gucci's president and chief executive, said: 'The world's leading brands are rightly judged today not just on the quality of their products and services, but also on the way they act in the community and towards the environment.'
The Rainforest Action Network said it was 'impressed by Gucci's new programme and hoped it would 'set an example for other companies in the luxury sector'.
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