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Kering Rolls Out New Animal Welfare Standards for Luxury Brands

Kering, the French conglomerate that operates luxury brands such as Balenciaga, Gucci and Saint Laurent, published on Monday new internal animal-welfare guidelines to “ensure and verify the humane treatment of animals” across its supply chains.

Phase one of the standards, which cover cattle, calves, sheep and goats, includes detailed requirements such as the prohibition of intensive farming, subtherapeutic antibiotic treatments and “food competition” with human sources of nutrition. In their stead, the company supports pasture-raising for “better quality of life,” regenerative grazing and strict limits on transport for working farm animals.

“Improving the welfare of animals must be an imperative for our industry and Kering wants to amplify the focus of attention from a few species to all of the animals, including livestock, within fashion’s global supply chains,” Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering, said in a statement. “Reflecting François-Henri Pinault’s vision, our standards are aligned with our commitment to a holistic approach to sustainability, which means having best practices that encompass animals in our supply chains, wildlife around them and biodiversity conservation more broadly.”

An effort three years in the making, the standards draw together recent scientific research, legislation, comparative standards, best management practices and guidelines from different sectors with input from animal-welfare experts, farmers and herders, scientists and non-governmental organizations.

They’re structured in Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers, Kering said, to provide not only “clear guidance” on complying with requirements either equal or superior to European legislation, but also the expectation that suppliers will continually improve their performance.

While the entry-level Bronze tier presents minimum criteria, Gold-level standards demonstrate best-in-class practices that can “fundamentally transform” the management of animals industry-wide if more broadly adopted. The complete standards, Kering notes, will eventually cover all species around the world that part of its supply chains.

“We hope for widespread adoption of the standards through collaborating with our suppliers, our peers in luxury, the fashion industry at large and with the food sector, in these shared supply chains to ultimately shift how we, as a society, treat animals and nature,” Daveu said.