For luxury brands, holistic sustainability means more than “going green”
October 15, 2018
Positive Week 2018: Ronan Keating on "What Does Luxury Mean Today?"
While it may seem like a relatively predictable move for well-known brands to adapt more sustainable practices, actions speak louder than words.
Beyoncé, a well-known advocate for girls and women’s rights and supporter of more than 30 charities, was recently accused of using sweatshops to help run her fashion line.
The singer’s activewear line, Ivy Park, is reportedly made in factories in Sri Lanka where workers are paid as little as $6 per day.
To put it into perspective, a pair of Ivy Park’s leggings go for about $80.
The company did not respond to requests for details about its code of conduct and did not address the specific allegations made in the report, according to CNN Money .
While there is little doubt that Beyoncé and the team behind her clothing brand intentionally endorsed poor working conditions for young workers in impoverished areas, with corrupt policies at play for many production lines, it is more important than ever that CEOs and key players for luxury brands truly immerse themselves in their business practices to align their brand DNA with core values.
Understanding brand values
“If you listen carefully to the way CEOs speak, you understand purpose,” Positive Luxury’s Ms. Nieto said.
“So what is the purpose of the business or the brand, how do they behave? Supply chain is only a reaction of that,” she said.
“Big-picture perspective is how the company behaves and also what matters the most. I think purpose-driven luxury companies have an agenda of doing good, and I’m not talking about giving money to charity. I’m talking about behaving better as a citizen.”
This means reading between the lines of luxury companies and paying close attention to their actions, even the ones that do not necessarily make headlines.
“For example, Dior is investing in reconstructing Versailles, and that is very powerful because as a French brand this is great because you buy a Dior piece but you know where some of the money is going, it’s actually improving the life of people, not just the immediate business like suppliers and employees,” Ms. Nieto said.
“There are a lot of brands that are actually doing stuff that’s for the community,” she said.
WHILE INCREASED toward sustainability is a chain-reaction of several factors, one thing is for sure: it is good for the world and it is good for business.
“Most luxury brands know that sustainability is a good business, meaning that it impacts the bottom-line,” Ms. Nieto said.
“If you do the right thing consumers will gravitate toward you and therefore you’ll have an impact on the bottom-line and at the same time you’re more attractive to investors,” she said.
“It’s about open collaboration and open source and how we can innovate so we can have a business in the next 100 years instead of cutting elements out because it’s trendy. We need a systematic approach rather an impulsive approach to trends.”
Celebrating its annual “Positive Week,” Positive Luxury on Oct. 8-12 honored global brands and individuals that care about the planet.