MILAN — Gucci continues to take steps to embed a comprehensive sustainability strategy into and around the brand.
The Italian luxury company revealed on Tuesday that it has become a strategic partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation “to further strengthen our commitments to circularity and regenerative agriculture,” said president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri.
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“For us, purpose and progress are paramount to the very ethos of Gucci. We are constantly experimenting and evolving to drive positive impacts in the Gucci community, and in the wider world,” said Bizzarri, adding that the partnership with the foundation, a leading authority on the circular economy, will help expand the company’s initiatives.
Also on Tuesday, the company unveiled its 2021 Gucci Equilibrium Impact Report, “a testament to our resolve to continue building a responsible and sustainable business,” Bizzarri said.
In its initial phase, the collaborative efforts with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation will include Gucci’s commitment to increase its collections with circular principles across its products’ life cycle and the organization will analyze the company’s efforts to help pinpoint areas where circularity can be embedded in design. Educational resources and courses will be offered to deepen knowledge and operational know-how of circular economy principles and practices.
Another key step is to help Gucci advance regenerative agriculture, a project the company scaled in 2020 under its Natural Climate Solutions Portfolio, across key raw materials.
“Through Gucci’s passion for people and the planet, and the foundation’s circular economy expertise, we can innovate toward industry-led solutions for fashion designed to be used more, made to be made again, and made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs,” said Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “Shifting toward a circular, regenerative economy for fashion, we can help tackle the root causes of global challenges including pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss.”
The partnership with the foundation will build on Gucci’s existing circular economy strategy underlined by the three principles of eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature.
This is the latest step in Gucci’s initiatives across its value chain, from using recycled materials to promoting materials from organic and regenerative produdction systems. In 2020, the Italian luxury brand launched the Gucci Off the Grid collection designed by creative director Alessandro Michele and employing recycled, organic, bio-based and sustainably sourced materials, including the trademarked Econyl, a regenerated nylon made from nylon offcuts and pre- and post-consumer waste, such as abandoned fishing nets and carpets — transforming plastics that harm marine life and old materials that will likely end up in landfills into a new high-quality thread. Off The Grid now includes more than 70 products, from shoes to accessories and luggage.
In June 2021, after two years of in-house research and development, Gucci unveiled an innovative animal-free luxury material called Demetra. The house has also invested in manufacturing solutions to reduce scraps and upcycle material leftovers with Gucci-Up and Gucci Scrap-less, and ventured into resale and customized vintage on Gucci Vault, its experimental online space. In particular, the Impact Report states that Gucci has recovered 290 tons of leftover leather, 215 tons of textile scraps, 67 tons of metal accessories, and donated 9,000 meters of fabric to NGOs in Italy through Gucci-Up. It has also reduced its leather manufacturing footprint with Gucci Scrap-less, with 13 tanneries participating in the program and reducing 253 tons of leather scraps, saving 9.5 million liters of water, avoiding 15,730 kilograms of waste production, and avoiding 1,085 tons of CO2.
“Over the last year, our commitments to building a responsible and sustainable business have been just as important as our creative identity,” Bizzarri writes in his letter introducing the 2021 Gucci Equilibrium Impact Report. “In fact, we see our creativity as our strongest tool for finding new solutions to move forward into a better future.”
The executive said he was “especially proud of the progress” Gucci has made on diversity and inclusivity, including gender equality and accessibility. “Diversity is an integral part of our culture; it drives creativity and we embrace everyone’s unique qualities.”
In the report, incorporating 2021 data, Gucci’s new Environmental Profit and Loss results revealed that the house reduced its total footprint by 49 percent and its greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent since 2015 relative to growth. Gucci also attained 100 percent green energy in 44 of the 49 countries where its stores, corporate locations and factories are located.
Bizzarri also addressed Gucci’s promotion of regenerative agriculture, helping farmers transition to regenerative farming by funding regenerative projects.
“Regenerative agriculture is a lever for luxury and fashion to help reverse the trajectory of climate change and biodiversity loss, and our ambition is to source regenerative raw materials for our collections in order for us to continue to innovate in design and manufacturing,” he observed.
The report also expands on initiatives such as Chime for Change and Gucci Changemakers, stating that Gucci has supported more than 25 organizations globally, impacting 62,526 women and girls through its Chime for Change global campaign for gender equality. It has also contributed to UNICEF’s equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccines with more than 200,000 vaccine kits in some of the most vulnerable global communities.
Among the findings, Gucci has helped protect and restore 785,000 hectares of critical forests and biodiversity in Zimbabwe and supported an afforestation program covering just over 6,000 hectares in Kenya that helps encourage local farmers to improve their farms by planting and maintaining trees on degraded and/or unused land.
The Impact Report is the label’s second and was presented on Gucci Equilibrium, the brand’s web destination launched in 2018 with a focus on sustainability and transparency.