Luxury sector failing to meet sustainability standards

Leading brands yet to adopt tech to make luxury design, production, buying and distribution more resource efficient

Not enough is being done to make the luxury sector sustainable – according to an industry roundtable at Think Tank: An Industrial Workshop for the Luxury Fashion Industry.

The panel, made up of academics and industry figures, concluded that although the textile industry is the second most polluting after oil, technology helping to make design, production, inventory, buying and distribution more efficient is not being widely adopted by leading luxury brands.

Alessandro Brun, director of the Master in Global Luxury Management at MIP Politecnico di Milano, said: “The round table panel – many of whom Skyped in to minimise their footprint – agreed that although developments like the continued rise of e-commerce are allowing businesses to cut down on real estate and redesign logistic strategies, many companies are still reluctant to adopt other methods of ensuring sustainability.”

The panel also comments that luxury businesses are failing to form a collaborative approach to sustainability, and parts of their operations – such as supply chains – are being neglected entirely.

Brun said: “Luxury brands are missing great chances to innovate, cut costs and demonstrate their conviction to sustainability to potential customers.”

“The industry must look to examples such as Rebecca Ballard, CEO at Maven Women, whose business clothes outlet cuts down on manufacturing costs and waste by allowing women to co-create their own styles on the website prior to ordering. This means that there is minimal waste, a tighter inventory, more control over the product from the customer and, of course, a much more sustainable operation. With increasingly strict controls regarding sustainable working, the luxury industry cannot afford to get left behind.”

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