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Net-zero fashion: Kering group set to cut its emissions by 40% by 2035

Kering aims to be the leader in the fashion industry achieving the main goals related to the green transition and carrying out an effective net-zero strategy.

Net-zero: what does it mean?

According to United Nations, net-zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests for instance. This definition explains how net-zero represents an important key point for the agendas of governments and companies.

Why is net-zero so important? Science shows that, in order to avoid the very serious risks and impact from climate change, very important action need to be taken by those who have the power to achieve them on a number of different levels:

  • Governments should think and introduce new rules and long-term plans to support sustainability and contrast climate changes, trying to match these collective goals with the individual ones concerning companies and citizens;
  • Companies should rethink the processes they’re used to for innovation, production and distribution of their products and services, being relevant players for this change involving also public organisations, partner companies and consumers;
  • People play a bigger role than expected, as the biggest changes always come from the smallest actions that can be achieved every day as citizens and consumers.

The data clearly show how is important to take care of environmental issues by setting a schedule with proper timing and goals. Specifically:

  • Based on actual action plans, by 2030 it is expected we will witness a +10% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 2010 levels, whereas it is estimated that to meet goals, they should be  reduce them by -45% within the same period;
  • Nowadays only seven countries produce around 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which are China, India, USA, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and EU (considered as a single large country); this percentage significantly grows up to around 75% including other large economies like UK, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

What is a net-zero strategy and how should companies be working to achieve it?

A net-zero strategy refers to planning methods, goals, needs and actions to achieve relevant results in accomplishment with international agreements related to environmental care and sustainable development.

Net-zero strategies are typically built upon comprehensive long-term plans that provide abundant data, in-depth information, and projections across various areas of concern. These plans address the imperative to protect the health of Planet Earth and mitigate all forms of pollution, presenting prospects with the necessary knowledge and motivation for effective implementation.

For companies, adopting a net-zero strategy means revising the foundation of the whole business strategy making environmental care the main purpose. A comprehensive plan includes especially:

  • Actions at the top management level to inspire, communicate and motivate all the stakeholders driving organisations towards the achievement of net-zero goals, especially by considering as a guide a few successful cases that show how a deep change in the brand’s agenda can produce great outcomes;
  • Development of inner skills and know-how to integrate a proper awareness of sustainability and green transition-related goals, being able to appraise risks and opportunities, understand the phenomenon through new technologies and transform data and information into concrete strategies;
  • Innovation, research and development in connection with other partner companies, startups, universities and schools, public organisations and even single professionals, according to an open innovation approach, aiming for the creation of new ways and best practices to improve production by reducing waste and emissions, both directly and indirectly;
  • Commitment to a deep and proven change in the energetic field, moving from decarbonisation to improved energy efficiency leveraging renewable resources and technological innovation for a clean future, in addition to the use of recycled materials and the use of new eco-friendly raw materials;
  • Rethinking of financial strategies to distribute resources throughout the business and reinforce all functions to equally put concrete actions into play.

The role of connected products to communicate climate and sustainability

It’s quite easy to realise that the interest for environmental care and sustainability can be a double-edged sword for companies that aren’t clear about it. Indeed, transparency is one of the most important factors to consider, especially in the fashion industry.

Thus, unfortunately, it often occurs the unpleasant phenomenon called greenwashing defined as a false, misleading or untrue action or claims that mark the hypothetical positive impact that a company, a product or a service has on the environment.

Connected products can be the right way to overcome this problem and allow companies to prove to consumers that their effort into sustainability and green economy is true and valuable, for example through sharing information that transparently reveals the production process behind the garment, in order to increase the value of the brand and its products. It only takes scanning a code via smartphone to get access to extra content and for a brand to offer a new shopping experience that enhances trust and transparency.

net zero

Kering’s net-zero strategy to cut emissions

A very interesting example to study in the fashion industry refers to Kering, one of the biggest fashion groups holding brands like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.

Kering took very seriously its commitment to the environment and adopted its own net-zero strategy to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions in a few years, following a steady plan that lays out clear results and the dates they expect to achieve them by.

The effort of Kering began in 2015, right after the Paris Agreement for climate, and so far has reached 100% renewable electricity sourcing already while aiming to cut at least 40% of total emissions by 2035. To achieve this impressive goal, Kering focuses on several aspects:

  • Implementing sustainable standards to gather raw materials and carry out manufacturing processes, outlining best practices and sustainability requirements;
  • Establishing energy efficiency programs in the whole group's operations, of course leveraging only renewable sources;
  • Adopting key manufacturing efficiencies and innovative programs for textile mills, saving at least 12% per year;
  • Collaborating with partners to support efforts, solutions and innovations that can help the fashion industry become completely carbon-neutral.

In this way, Kering aims to be the leader in the whole fashion industry, making it the sector with the most disruptive impact for what concerns digital and green transitions.

12 May 2023

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