News

22 April 2022

Earth day 2022: green and sustainability are the keywords for luxury

Every year, on April 22, the United Nations celebrates Earth Day.
This date is not by chance, as it is the day after the spring equinox and refers to the 1962 book (and environmental manifest) "Silent Spring" by US biologist Rachel Carson. It is from this book that Earth Day draws its inspiration.

The basic idea behind the celebration is that everyone has the right to live in a healthy and sustainable environment. Instead, problems such as pollution, the depletion of resources, and the destruction of ecosystems, biodiversity, and traditions are increasing. Fortunately, we can tackle these problems by focusing on recycling, reuse, and a wide range of environmental protection actions.

EARTH DAY AND THE NEED FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Therefore, Earth Day is the occasion to think about effective and shared solutions for a green change. 

But what role may fashion and luxury companies play? Is it possible for them to follow this revolution?

Of course! Sustainability and luxury are by no means two antithetical terms. On the contrary, the future of fashion and luxury brands is going to be green and sustainable.
Many brands are already striving to have a positive impact on the environment and society, not only for ethical reasons. Indeed, this is the only way to grow and connect with a public that is increasingly attentive to these subjects. This is especially true of brands that cater to Generation Z. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the attitude of consumers in general. 

The report LuxCo 2030: A Vision of Sustainable Luxury, by Bain & Company in collaboration with Positive Luxury gives an idea of what luxury companies will be like in 2030. In particular, it identifies 5 elements on which companies should focus from now to face the near future.

  1. Redefining brand purpose
    If in the past luxury meant exclusivity, today consumers expect more responsibility. Luxury companies must therefore rethink not only their production structure but also their value set. The corporate culture, both internally and externally, must follow concepts such as respect, authenticity, consistency, and honesty. And, of course, sustainability.
     
  2. Decoupling growth from volume
    Earnings can come not only from the sales of new products but also from the resale of used items, rentals, and from made to order. The latter not only reduces warehouse stocks but also gives the customer the possibility of having personalized goods. In this new context, the concept of "consumer lifetime value" regains new value.
    Reuse also affects production. For example, dead-stock fabrics are not thrown away but used for future collections or limited editions.
     
  3. Making the supply chain fully transparent and traceable
    Consumers expect the companies to collaborate with suppliers and partners who are equally aware of their environmental and social impact and intend to reduce it as much as possible. For this reason, companies must allow consumers to know the origin of the components of the products, the place, and date of production, and all the information on suppliers.
    Furthermore, consumers also want to know the environmental impact of their purchases. All of this must be possible both when buying online and in a physical store. Hence the need for connected products.
     
  4. Maximizing environmental and social commitments
    Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, use of renewable energies, ability to adapt to the environmental and social specificities of the different production sites and inclusiveness are just some targets.
     
  5. Creating economic value from sustainabilityRevenue is created not only through the sale of assets but also through a new fiscal and financial management. Choosing sustainability translates into the possibility of accessing state incentives, tax cuts, and other benefits.

WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY FOR FASHION AND LUXURY COMPANIES?

As Matteo Capellini, Associate Partner of Bain & Company says:

 << For decades, LuxCo’s main purpose had been providing products and services whose craft and scarcity fired the imagination and aspiration of consumers. Between 2020 and 2030, the consumer mood shifted, and LuxCo duly redefined this exclusive idea of luxury into something more like the ancient Greek concept of kalokagathia―loosely translated as “what is beautiful and good”―both for people and the planet, in this case. >>

But what does sustainability mean? In short, it means producing by limiting one's ecological footprint, in an ethical way by respecting environmental and human resources. But be careful, sustainability must not penalize the product. On the contrary, consumers expect high-quality and long-lasting goods.

EARTH DAY AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE

2020 was a black year for many fashion and luxury companies. According to the observatory of the Altagamma Foundation, the losses were 20-22% globally. But they reached up to 23% for personal luxury goods such as fashion, jewelry, accessories, and cosmetics.
Meeting the new needs of consumers in terms of environmental and social respect appears to be an effective way to thrive.

So, Earth Day is a great opportunity for companies to re-evaluate their sustainability and decide what to do in order to reduce their ecological footprint.