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Kering Kicks Off Another Fund for Nature

Two luxury powerhouses are joining forces to scale-up financing for nature-based solutions.

At COP15 in Montreal on Tuesday, Kering and L’Occitane Group announced the launch of the Climate Fund for Nature, a planned 300 million-euro ($315-million) vehicle aimed at protecting and restoring biodiversity, with an emphasis on female empowerment. The fund has already amassed 140 million euros ($147 million) and is open to new partner companies. It will be managed by Mirova, a Natixis Investment Managers affiliate dedicated to sustainable capital, with support from 2XCollaborative, a global industry body for gender-smart investing.

“The Climate Fund for Nature provides an opportunity for the luxury fashion and beauty sectors to collectively support biodiversity restoration and conservation at scale,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability and institutional affairs officer at Kering, which owns rarified nameplates such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Gucci and has been carbon neutral since 2019.

The need to ratchet up funding is critical to fighting the planetary crisis, she added. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, investment in nature-based solutions must at least triple to $484 billion per year by 2030 to limit climate change to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, stem biodiversity loss and achieve land degradation neutrality. Even doubling the current amount can slash emissions by several gigatons a year and restore close to 1 billion hectares of degraded land, it said.

Kering previously partnered with Conservation International to establish a 100,000-500,000-euro ($106,000-$532,000) Regenerative Fund for Nature with the goal of shifting 1 million hectares of current crop and rangeland to regenerative farming practices over the next five years. The project chose to focus on cotton, wool, cashmere and leather—four raw materials that are not only important to Kering’s brands but also have the highest environmental impact. The new fund will build upon this, both in terms of scope and ambition.

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“Innovative financing mechanisms are crucial to channel much-needed investment into nature-based solutions if we are to reverse biodiversity decline by 2030 and, simultaneously, address climate change, which is intrinsically interlinked with nature,” Daveu said. “We entreat further companies to join this ambitious initiative to contribute to a nature-positive future.”

Kicking into gear in Q1, the Climate Fund for Nature will support “high-quality” projects dedicated to restoration work, including efforts at the farm level to transition to regenerative practices, deliver carbon credits and uplift communities. Eligible projects must also “significantly” center women by tackling gender-based hurdles relating to finance, land and training.

“With our planet facing a global climate and biodiversity crisis never witnessed before, L’Occitane Group is proud to join forces with Kering and Mirova to scale up its action against the degradation of nature, which provides the very resources and services we rely on,” said Adrien Geiger, chief sustainability officer of L’Occitane Group and managing director of L’Occitane en Provence. “While reducing our emissions and impacts is our priority, the Climate Fund for Nature will help us go further by supporting projects that encourage regenerative practices, benefiting both nature and communities.”

As with the Regenerative Fund for Nature, which selected projects based on the importance of the fiber or material for the fashion supply chain, the Climate Fund for Nature will zero in on efforts that mostly take place in countries where the investors source their core raw materials. This dovetails with Kering’s own ongoing move from carbon offsetting into carbon insetting, creating emissions cuts that have a more direct impact on its Tier 4-level operations.

“We are proud to work with Kering, L’Occitane Group and more corporates, to accelerate the mobilization of resources for nature-based solutions to climate change and women empowerment,” said Anne-Laurence Roucher, deputy CEO and head of natural capital and private equity of Mirova. “A net-zero and nature-positive economy requires huge amounts of capital and the ambitious contribution of corporates is essential to achieve this transition.”

United Nations chief António Guterres has blasted humanity for “waging a war” on nature that has deteriorated into an “orgy of destruction.”

Speaking at the opening of the two-week biodiversity conference last Tuesday, he warned of “treating nature like a toilet” and ultimately “committing suicide by proxy.”