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Product, Service & Design Innovation
Burberry, Gucci Strut Ever Closer to Sustainability

The luxury fashion giants continue to lead the industry toward a cruelty-free and climate-resilient future — Gucci with its new, biobased, animal-free textile; and Burberry with its bar-raising goal to be climate positive by 2040.

Gucci introduces sustainable new luxury material — and open-sources it to fashion industry

Gucci's New Ace shoes, made with Demetra | Image credit: Gucci

Gucci has unveiled Demetra — an animal-free, leather-like material that combines quality, softness, durability and scalability with sustainability — and will offer it free, for wide industry use.

With Demetra, Gucci joins other fashion innovators including C&A and Houdini Sportswear — which have shared their recipes for Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold denim and the circular Mono Air Houdi, respectively — and Allbirds, which open-sourced its Carbon Footprint Calculator for industrywide use; and Stella McCartney, which has embraced animal-free textiles including a biobased faux fur, in efforts to advance industry sustainability and circularity.

Demetra is the result of two years of research and development by Gucci’s technicians and artisans. Produced entirely in Italy in Gucci’s factory, the primarily plant-based new material is created using the same expertise and processes for tanning. Demetra is comprised of roughly 77 percent plant-based, sustainable, renewable and biobased sources, including:

  • Viscose, from sustainably managed forest sources

  • Wood pulp compound, from sustainably managed forest sources

  • Biobased polyurethane, from renewable sources

  • Other compounds that are needed to guarantee quality and aesthetics have been kept at a bare minimum; research into more sustainable alternatives continues.

“In our 100th anniversary year, Demetra is a new category of material that encapsulates Gucci’s quality and aesthetic standards with our desire to innovate, leveraging our traditional skills and know-how to create for an evolving future,” said Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci. “Demetra offers our industry an easily scalable, alternative choice and a more sustainable material that also answers the needs of animal-free solutions.”

Three new sneaker models — the Gucci Basket, Gucci New Ace and Gucci Rhyton — are the first Gucci products made with Demetra (the majority of the upper and part of the linings); but the company says it is suitable for a wide range of product categories. Unlike the majority of new materials being developed, Gucci says there are no impediments to scalability or limitations on volume.

In the spirit of open innovation, Gucci will also make Demetra available to the fashion industry as a new material source that can be customized to offer exclusive finishing, further facilitating application and differentiation. Meanwhile, to continue to support a circular economy, Demetra scraps during manufacturing will be upcycled and reused by Gucci through an extension of its Gucci-Up program.

The three new sneaker models are completely animal-free and also contain organic cotton, recycled steel and recycled polyester. Further sneaker models and other product categories using Demetra will follow soon.

Burberry to be climate positive by 2040

Image credit: Burberry/Facebook

Meanwhile, Burberry has pledged to become climate positive by 2040 — setting a new industry standard and one-bettering its current 2040 net-zero target. To achieve this, Burberry will take action within its own value chain, guided by climate science. This includes:

  • Accelerating its ambition to reduce its supply-chain-wide Scope 3 emissions, aiming to reduce them by 46 percent (from a previous target of 30 percent) by 2030.

  • Accelerating low-carbon future solutions and investing in nature-based projects with carbon benefits that restore and protect natural ecosystems and enhance the livelihoods of global communities through the Burberry Regeneration Fund.

The Burberry Regeneration Fund was established in 2020 to support a portfolio of verified carbon offsetting and insetting projects, which enable Burberry to compensate and store carbon, promote biodiversity, facilitate the restoration of ecosystems and support the livelihoods of local communities. Also in 2020, Burberry became the first luxury brand to issue a sustainability bond, enlisting the support of investors to finance ambitious sustainability projects.

“Burberry was built upon a desire to explore nature and the great outdoors, and they have remained our inspiration for more than 150 years,” says Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti. “Drawing on this heritage, we are setting a bold new ambition: to become climate positive by 2040. As a company, we are united by our passion for being a force for good in the world. By strengthening our commitment to sustainability, we are going further in helping protect our planet for generations to come.”

As far as its other climate initiatives:

  • Burberry is on track to meet its target to become carbon neutral across its own footprint by 2022 — which it has achieved by reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency and switching to renewable electricity sources, before balancing any remaining emissions.

  • All of Burberry’s events, including runway shows and presentations, have been certified carbon neutral since 2019; and the company has successfully reduced its market-based emissions by 92 percent since 2016.

  • Burberry has SBTi-approved science-based targets across its scope 1 and 2 emissions (in its own operations and indirect emissions from its energy use) and scope 3 emissions (across its extended supply chain).

  • Burberry currently sources 93 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, on track to achieve its target to use 100 percent renewable electricity in its own operations by 2022.

  • As a signatory of the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, Burberry supports UN Climate Change's efforts in the fashion industry. In its role on the Manufacturing Energy Working Group, it developed online climate action training for the fashion industry supply chain.

Burberry has also announced its support for the Fashion Avengers — a coalition of global fashion organizations that have come together to advance action towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Learn more about Burberry’s commitment to be climate positive by 2040 here