Skip to main content

Diesel Owner Aims for Net Zero by 2050

Only The Brave (OTB) Group, the Italian fashion conglomerate that owns such brands as Diesel, Jil Sander and Maison Margiela among others, has released its first sustainability report. The document outlines its accomplishments and goals in three key areas–environmental protection, attention to the product and social commitment–and indicates that it is living up to its motto of “Be Brave. Be Responsible.”

“The Group’s concrete objectives were set forth in this first sustainability report, following the intense work and close cooperation of all of our corporate departments. First of all, we established the ambitious goal to achieve the Net Zero target in all of our internal operations by 2030 and in those of the entire value chain by 2050,” Ubaldo Minelli, OTB CEO, states. “We also aim to structurally act on our supply chain by promoting the conscious development of systems for managing water, chemical substances, environmental resources and energy. Although these are challenging long-term objectives, we are confident that the entire Group and brands of our ecosystem will be able to address this challenge with us for everyone’s future.”

Its mentioned that denim-specific environmental achievements are all related to the Diesel brand, which recently launched Diesel Library, a program to ensure that all fabrics, treatments and trims used have a lower environmental impact than traditional ones.

Related Story

“This project led Diesel to include a much higher percentage of recycled, organic, lower-impact materials and more responsible cotton in the Denim collection,” the report states. “Furthermore, the brand implemented innovative treatments that allowed for conspicuous water and chemical reductions along with less impactful alternatives to traditional washing and finishing procedures (e.g. alternative pumice stone, abrasive drum, nebulization, ozone, laser, etc.).”

Diesel Library, which now accounts for nearly 40 percent of the brand’s denim offer, also guarantees that all trims are chrome-free tanned leather patches, inner labels made with recycled materials, metal buttons with no-galvanized treatments and cellulosic trims, including hangtags and patches, made of FSC certified materials.

“Be the Alternative is one of the pillars of the Diesel ‘For Responsible Living’ Strategy. Diesel is committed to creating alternative and responsible products, looking for low-impact materials and innovative techniques, investing in research and development and discovering more sustainable solutions throughout its value chain,” the company states.

Diesel unveiled the first iteration of its Diesel Upcycling For series dedicated to a more sustainable, circular, fashion industry.
A look from Diesel’s upcycled collection. Courtesy

Diesel’s other environmentally friendly executions include the 2020 Earth Day release of “A Respectful Denim with Diesel DNA” collection created using techniques that significantly reduced the use of water and chemicals and the inauguration that same year of its first upcycled collection, a limited-edition capsule of 5,055 items that combined Diesel and 55DSL deadstock pieces and prototypes.

In addition, it launched the Diesel Second Hand pilot project, a buy-back and resale initiative in 2021. The buy-back phase started in July 2021 in Italy only and encourages consumers to bring back their old, unused garments to nine stores location in exchange for gift card. The resale started four months later in three Diesel stores in Italy and online throughout Europe. The project is traceable through a QR code and RFID system and vertically managed by Diesel in all its phases.

Last year also saw Diesel expanding the smart tag system it launched in 2016 in jeans to its entire collection. It lets customers verify the authenticity of the garments through a QR code label in each piece.

OTB Group’s social commitment–both internally and externally–is highlighted in the report as well. “Already today more than 50 percent of our managerial positions are held by women, but we can and intend to do much more. Diversity, inclusion and equity are not just the cornerstones of our growth, they are values that the OTB Group has made its own and requires that all our suppliers and stakeholders share, so that the same working conditions are ensured throughout the value chain,” Sara Mariani, OTB’s chief sustainability officer, states in the report.

Its social advancements outside of its own offices are mostly through the OTB Foundation, an independent non-profit charitable arm started in 2008 by company founder and chairman Renzo Rosso that was honored with a Sustainable Fashion Award in the Philanthropy and Society category earlier this week. The foundation’s most recent initiatives include providing help to the people of Ukraine and Afghanistan and setting up a vaccination center in Italy during the height of the pandemic.