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Kering Says it Reached Environmental Impact Goal 4 Years Early

Gucci and Balenciaga parent Kering will attempt to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2035.

The luxury group revealed its latest sustainability goal at an in-person event in New York City Friday morning. The commitment, which includes Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and uses 2021 as its baseline, arrived five days ahead of the publication of Kering’s 2020-2023 Sustainability Progress Report.

Kering had previously aimed to reduce its total “environmental” impact—inclusive of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as factors like biodiversity, water consumption, water pollution and waste—40 percent by intensity by 2025. It reached that goal, however, in 2021, four years early.

This week’s progress report will detail some of the company’s largest sustainability initiatives of the past few years, including its 2021 ban on fur and the creation of a “Sustainable Finance Department” designed to bridge Kering’s financial and sustainability units. It will also highlight the creation of Kering and Conservation International’s Regenerative Fund for Nature, a grant-administering vehicle with the goal of transitioning 1 million hectares of current crop and farmland to regenerative farming practices. It will similarly touch on the Climate Fund for Nature it launched with L’Occitane Group in December at COP15. The planned 300-million-euro ($320 million) fund had already amassed 140 million euros ($149 million) by the end of last year.

“Kering and our Houses have made significant strides to reach our sustainability targets over the last years, and, in parallel, we have augmented our ambitions,” chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault said in a statement. “Now we are setting this new absolute target, spanning Scopes 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, because, if we want to truly decarbonize our global businesses, we need to move from carbon intensity reductions to absolute reductions. I am convinced that impact reduction in absolute terms combined with value creation must be the next horizon for truly sustainable companies.”

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Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability and institutional affairs officer, identified three “layers” to the luxury conglomerate’s environmental strategy. The first, which Daveu referred to as “fair production,” will leverage artificial intelligence and inventory monitoring to ensure the company produces the right quantity of products. Second, the company is looking to optimize its processes and raw materials sourcing, including through regenerative agriculture. The final layer relates to new channels and business models, including secondhand sales.

“We are really focused on the target,” Daveu said. “There is not a magic solution, you need to implement a matrix approach.”

Like at most fashion companies, Scope 3 emissions account for the vast majority of Kering’s carbon footprint, meaning any substantial change to its environmental impact will necessarily occur at the supplier level. “We know that nearly 90 percent of our environmental footprint… are outside our legal boundaries, so we can’t do it alone,” Daveu said.

To help its suppliers along, Kering has developed programs to support things like investment in clean energy and reducing water consumption. This work includes its Clean by Design program. Developed by the environmental advocacy organization Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the initiative focused on improving water and energy efficiency at textile mills.

Another substantial element of Kering’s sustainability push has been investment in alternative materials. Of the 225 startups the company has partnered with to pilot sustainable technology, Daveu said most have been linked to raw materials.

“Broadly, the fashion sector has a big impact… because we set the trends,” Daveu said. “We have not only an impact on what we are doing, but also the fact that we push, I think, because we set the trends. That’s why we’re investing a lot in regenerative agriculture and raw materials, because depending on what you are doing, you can have really a big impact.”