The luxury group’s new biodiversity strategy provides a detailed roadmap aligned with the Science Based Targets Network’s Framework, with four stages: Avoid, Reduce, Restore and Regenerate, and Transform.
With the launch of its new Biodiversity Strategy, global luxury group Kering commits to a net-positive impact on biodiversity by 2025, and becomes the latest global group to declare its regenerative intentions.
The parent company to Houses including Gucci, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen plans to regenerate one million hectares of farms and rangelands within its own supply chain through a new €5 million nature fund; and a further one million hectares outside its supply chain, totalling six times its total land footprint.
Launched on 1 July 2020, Kering’s Biodiversity Strategy — "Bending the Curve on Biodiversity Loss" — recognises the need, and well as the responsibility, to protect the farms and forests from which it sources the raw materials used to make its products. The group is using the insights derived from its Environmental Profit & Loss account, which measures the environmental footprint in its own operations and across its supply chain, calculating its monetary value and identifying where the impacts are.
Speaking at a Global Fashion Agenda X Kering Media Masterclass called “Unearthing biodiversity in fashion” on 1 July, Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer, explained the journey leading to the Biodiversity Strategy. “We have a pragmatic approach,” she said. “We did analysis to understand where the impacts were, thanks to the Environmental Profit and Loss Account. Then we developed programmes — for example in cashmere, wool and gold. It was very operational; and each time we worked with expert universities, NGOs and local communities. This year, we decided to go a step further and to formalise our strategy with more KPIs and more targets, and today launched our Biodiversity Strategy.”
Kering’s Biodiversity Strategy supports its wider Sustainability Strategy and commitment made in 2017 to reduce its ecological footprint by 40 percent by 2025. It has also committed to reducing its controlled greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2025, with both targets calculated against a 2015 baseline.
"Bending the Curve on Biodiversity Loss" describes how Kering plans to achieve a net-positive impact on biodiversity by 2025, with a detailed roadmap aligned with a framework by the Science Based Targets Network (which builds on the work of the Science Based Targets initiative), with four stages: Avoid, Reduce, Restore and Regenerate, and Transform.
Stage 1: Avoid
This stage ensures Kering avoids negative impacts in the first place, by not taking from areas with the highest value to conservation, by:
Ensuring that all plant- and animal-based raw materials in Kering’s supply chain come from legal, verifiable sources at a minimum; closely adhering to guidance issued under CITES, the IUCN Red List, and other relevant national and international conventions.
By 2025, eliminating the sourcing of all materials that lead to the conversion of ecosystems with high conservation value — with attention to forested areas, grasslands, wetlands and freshwater/marine ecosystems.
By 2025, achieving 100 percent traceability of all materials to at least the country level, and to the farm level for key materials such as leather.
Stage 2: Reduce
Where impacts cannot be avoided, this stage is about reducing the duration, intensity and extent of negative impacts, by:
Reducing biodiversity impacts associated with sourcing decisions, by ensuring 100 percent alignment with the Kering Standards for Raw Materials and Manufacturing Processes by 2025 — prioritizing, for example, organic cotton, which has 80 percent less environmental impact than conventional cotton.
Reducing reliance on virgin raw material sourcing by achieving 50 percent circular materials in the collections of Houses by 2025 (for example, recycled materials), supporting material and process innovations, and investing in startups creating alternative materials.
Achieving a target of 100 percent metal-free tanned leather in Houses’ collections by 2025.
Stage 3: Restore and regenerate
This stage includes the commitment to regenerate land within Kering’s supply chain.
- By 2025, Kering will regenerate one million hectares of farms and rangelands in its supply chain landscapes, with a focus on the materials with the highest environmental impacts: leather, cotton, cashmere and wool. This represents about three times Kering’s total land footprint, calculated as about 350,000 hectares via its EP&L account.
Kering will use its new €5 million Kering for Nature Fund: One Million Hectares for the Planet to support agriculture and rangeland projects throughout the world. The projects will improve farming and livestock-rearing practices with the aim of increasing farm biodiversity, reducing agro-chemical inputs, improving soil water retention, enhancing carbon sequestration and focusing on livelihood gains. Kering’s involvement in direct regenerative projects to date include a goat rangeland programme in Mongolia connected to its cashmere supply chain; and a partnership with the Savory Institute that cultivates regenerative sources of leather and wool.
In addition, Kering commits to
By 2025, restore habitats where mining and other extractive activities occurred, restoring an area three times larger than its total ‘direct’ footprint.
Introduce its Houses to new materials made from forgotten plant varietals and livestock breeds, thereby improving agricultural resilience and moving away from monocropping; and increase the offerings of such materials at its Materials Innovation Lab by 2025.
Stage 4: Transform
Kering plans to go beyond its direct supply chain and use its influence to transform the fashion industry as a whole.
- By 2025, Kering will protect one million hectares of critical, irreplaceable habitat outside of its supply chain; through UN REDD+ and other programs that offer co-benefits of biodiversity protection, carbon sequestration and livelihood improvements. This represents approximately three times Kering’s total land footprint.
The company aims to influence and collaborate with the fashion industry through the Fashion Pact to work together on climate, biodiversity and ocean health; and join other fashion industry leaders in reviewing the frequency of fashion show calendars and requirements, due to their high environmental impact.
Other commitments include activities to encourage employees to incorporate biodiversity into their daily lives; strengthening the biodiversity element of existing certification schemes and standards; and promoting natural capital accounting.
Kering is also integrating a new tool developed by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership called the Biodiversity Impact Measurement Tool, to understand how its supply chains impact biodiversity. This could provide the more granular level needed implement Kering’s Biodiversity Strategy successfully. As the commitments cover a broad range of sourcing materials and countries, some of the targets are high level — for example, achieving 100 percent traceability of all materials to at least the country level and farm level for key materials such as leather. Tracing materials such as cotton to farm level will further increase Kering’s farm to fashion sustainability credentials.