LVMH launches Life 360 programme for a new luxury at group’s Climate Week
On the occasion of 2020 Climate Action Day and of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the LVMH group has once again highlighted its commitment to sustainability.
The French luxury group is staging LVMH Climate Week, an event running from December 8 to 11 which brings virtually together the group’s 163,000 employees. It features a series of conferences aimed at mobilising the whole group as it deals with the challenges of climate change, and to share best practices in the area of carbon emission cutting.
A way of “building together the group's climate strategy involving both junior and senior employees.” And also, the occasion for unveiling some of the group’s new goals via the ‘Life 360’ environmental programme.
LVMH will feature some of the event's content and conferences on its site during this week, which opened on Tuesday in the presence among others of former French PM Laurent Fabius, who also chaired the COP21 summit, and French palaeontologist Valérie Masson-Delmotte.
In the course of the week, LVMH will notably present 49 innovative solutions. In a video-conference on Monday, the group outlined the main elements of its new road map for sustainable development and environmental performance.
Hélène Valade, appointed at the start of 2020 as the group’s environmental development director, underlined that “the planet is lagging behind the objectives set at the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Scientists are urging us to accelerate in this direction, and LVMH is taking these issues extremely seriously.”
In the last five years, the world's number one luxury group has cut the emissions caused by its energy consumption by 25%, and its labels have introduced a multiplicity of environmental protection initiatives. But LVMH wants to go even farther.
The group's Life 2020 programme, drawn up in 2016, has reached nearly all its objectives, and has been replaced by Life 360, with deadlines set at three, six and 10 years (in 2023, 2026 and 2030). The new programme’s targets are ambitious and, besides climate action, they also include safeguarding biodiversity, regarded as the industry's next major challenge.
Driven by eco-fashion pioneer Stella McCartney, who joined LVMH in 2019 as special adviser on sustainable development issues, the group will introduce a series of pilot projects in regenerative agriculture. Among them, one for growing cotton in Turkey using 100% organic fertilisers, which improve soil yield and increase its capacity to store carbon dioxide.
LVMH, a world leader with its 75 luxury labels, is responsible for 0.5% of the CO2 emissions caused by the textile industry globally. Until now, the group has taken into account the carbon emissions in the categories defined as Scope 1 (the group's direct emissions) and Scope 2 (the greenhouse gas emissions directly linked to product manufacturing).
With Life 360, LVMH wants to refine the measurements by adding Scope 3 goals (relating to the greenhouse gas emissions linked to other phases of the product life cycle, such as sourcing and transportation).
In other words, the group is now going to intervene on its suppliers’ CO2 emissions. “This means a huge effort with our suppliers, which number in the tens of thousands. It will not be easy, but we must do it, since we want to follow the milestones set by the Paris agreement,” said Valade.
This means cutting emissions to the bare bones, and compensating any that still remain. The new objectives set by the group include using 100% renewable energy in its factories by 2030, using 100% LED lighting in its stores by 2023, and eliminating plastic from Louis Vuitton packaging by 2026.
“We wish to promote a new luxury (luxe nouveau), like the Art Nouveau artistic movement that emerged at the end of the 19th century, which put nature at the heart of art. It's a new vision of luxury, aiming at allying our creativity and skills with the world of plants and animals, the living soil and all its precious resources. All of our products share a connection with living nature. Artistic genius must therefore have the same importance as the genius of nature. We must give back to nature what we have taken away from it,” said Valade, underlining also how “this vision and this alliance are embodied in the Life 360 programme.”
A vision that requires “more stringent, more robust standards” of supply chain certification, as well as a new assessment of the length of products’ life cycle - LVMH is taking a close look at the new business model of second-hand fashion, while Berluti and Louis Vuitton both offer a repair service - and a rethinking of the way goods are transported. For example, Guerlain and Louis Vuitton are restructuring their logistics organisation in order to be able to ship their permanent collections’ items by sea and no longer by air.
The group has also worked a great deal on “timing, the relationship with time, notably addressing the issue of catwalk shows,” which in future are likely to be less frequent and increasingly hybridised, featuring digital elements. Clearly, travelling to Rio in Brazil for a 15-minute show, as Louis Vuitton did in 2016 for the cruise collection, is no longer on the cards.
Asked about the role of activists, Valade replied that “their warnings are useful, but we need dialogue. [Dialogue] is extremely important to enable everyone to move forward. We all need to modify our stance. Sometimes, with certain activists, this is difficult.” Asked about the recent cull of farm-bred mink in Denmark, Valade indicated that LVMH sources its mink fur in Finland.
“Our labels are free to choose their materials, provided animal well-being criteria in the supply chain are complied with. This is non-negotiable,” said Valade, adding that “we mustn't forget about the eco-system these animal breeding farms represent employment-wise. We must strike the right balance between animal well-being, environmental protection and social equity.”
“Nearly 90% of the questions job applicants ask us relate to sustainability and ethics issues,” said Antoine Arnault, general manager of Berluti and image and environment director at LVMH. “We owe it to ourselves to be up to the challenge. More prosaically, it's also a matter of protecting our business. If we don’t act quickly and decisively against global warming, it will be a catastrophe for our wine producers. This is why everyone must be involved in this effort. Starting from designers, who must become master craftsmen of eco-designed products,” concluded Arnault.
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