How can one of the world’s biggest fashion groups not only reconcile luxury with responsibility but also use it to drive brand growth?

Kering is the EUR 10 billion owner of some of the world’s most prestigious brands including Gucci, Puma, Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and many more.

It has also set radical targets for sustainability and invested heavily in achieving them. We were appointed in 2016 - 5 years into their sustainability programme - to help celebrate the achievements and use them as a platform for driving growth in their brands.

Establishing leadership

Sustainability and fashion are not immediately obvious partners. Yet Kering has fully committed to achieving a radical shift in its luxury goods production, consumption and beyond. Efforts include revolutionary technology changes such as the removal of harmful heavy metals from leather tanning and a commitment to 100% fair-mined gold. And they've taken a leadership position in open-sourcing their 'Environmental Profit & Loss' (EP&L) methodology which allows a company to measure, in € value, the costs and benefits it generates for the environment and, in turn, make more sustainable business decisions. 

Our task was to draw the link between these innovations and consumers to build brand equity. We also wanted to highlight goals that had yet to be achieved. 

We devised a theme ‘Beyond Our Limits’ - a tag that both celebrated success and showed the journey to come. This became the tag which drove the social media effort, including live interviews, driven by social media interactions.

Engaging the leadership

The presentation of the results and launch of the new strategy was to take place in May 2016 at 'Imagine', the top 200 event in London. This offered a great opportunity to set out success stories and energise the CEOs and Creative Directors of the brands.

We designed, created and managed content, messaging and communication strategy for the event, including films, presentations and speeches for Kering’s Chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault and Chief Sustainability Officer, Marie-Claire Daveu. We also briefed the host of the event to ensure the context and content was fully understood. 

Managing risk, driving growth

For some years, Kering recognised the link between the materials and labour needs of a luxury business and natural resources and social responsibility.

Kering had rightly identified this is as a risk factor. It has, therefore, allocated significant resources to help create resilient and fair supply chains and continuity of supply of key resources such as cotton, leather and gold.

The shift in 2016 was to more powerfully connect the sustainability strategy to the brands and their customers and so help drive growth.

Results

  • Kering has maintained its leadership position:

    • Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) World & Europe - industry leader two years in a row

    • Corporate Knights’ Global 100 index

    • ‘The A List: The CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014’ (CPLI)

    • Newsweek Magazine’s Green Rankings for the last two years

    • Fast Company’s ‘World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies’

“Real luxury is based on authenticity and sincerity - product is almost secondary to the experience. But if your products are not in sync with a higher set of values, then you aren’t going to survive in this business.” François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering.