Gucci Equilibrium - When luxury meets sustainability by Valeria Boi
Gucci is committed to reducing its environmental impacts and is setting ambitious targets to create a new standard in luxury retail
It's for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing and only the human actions determine the course of the climate system. Factory emissions and deforestation produce carbon dioxide, which is the main reason of the climate change, an its increased about 12 % since 2000.*
With conversations around the environmental footprint and sustainability on TV and social networks, people understood the urgency to act saving the planet and its resources. Many companies claim to have sustainable values, but only concrete data and reports can prove their intentions turned into facts; in this way the consumer can have the chance to know more about the sustainable practices of a company and make a choice. This is what the President of Gucci essentially said during a speech he held in 2021 in front of the audience of students.
Because of this Gucci, the worldwide-known Italian luxury brand founded in 1921, with its visionary Creative Director Alessandro Michele launched in 2018 “Gucci Equilibrium”. The purpose of this platform is to generate a positive change for people and the planet, implementing a series of actions aimed to achieving tangible results. They want people to know their values based on social and environmental sustainability, creating a community in which people share the same values and feel free to be authentic. In 2018 they launched Gucci-Up (upcycling), a program aimed at reducing our impact on the planet, creating a circular economy using leftover materials and preserving nature. We know in fashion industry there is a large amount of unused clothes and textile waste, and Gucci created different programs to reuse them.
Between 2015 and 2021, 395 tonnes of textile waste were collected from their suppliers and reused for a new regeneration process to create the future Gucci collections and, in this project, they involved non-profit organizations and social cooperatives in Italy, supporting the re-integration of marginalized people in the community. These recycled fibres, with the 41 tonnes of recovered and regenerated leather, reduced the environmental impact compared to the traditional production.
Last year during a lecture at Milan’s Bocconi University, the President and CEO Marco Bizzarri fully explained their carbon neutral commitment and initiatives toward sustainability, showing how these data are intended to grow in 2025. His speech and the targets achieved by the Gucci house are reported on the platform equilibrium.gucci.com and it’s important to highlight that in recent years they reduced the environmental footprint by 44%, the greenhouse gases by 47% and they used 93% of renewable energy. They do not only use fibre like organic and recycled cotton and silk, but they created new Econyl materials (a regenerated nylon that is infinitely recyclable) to deliver sustainable products. This made Gucci the first luxury brand to create a program for the regeneration of materials. And few months ago they presented Demetra, the new animal-free eco-friendly material made from "recycled, renewable and bio-based sources”.
But how is the Italian fashion house having a positive impact on people? Working with skilled artisans, promoting craftsmanship and using local raw materials. This is extremely important because they are giving value to their professionalism, supporting the local business and consumers can wear haute couture garments of excellent quality. Since 2014 they are supporting many projects involving disadvantaged people, giving them new working opportunities. With the sustainable clothing brand “Progetto Quid” and the creative sartorial multicultural lab “Colori Vivi”, they are empowering women from all around the world.
The strong presence of inequality in the world has brought the Italian fashion house to do something to involve as many people as possible, and in 2013 with the global campaign Chime for Change they intended to inspire and create a conversation around equality. The purpose is supporting organizations to eliminate discrimination in the Black community, helping refugees and providing scholarship for fashion studies to young people that can’t afford it. Diversity, gender equality, eco-consciousness: these are the messages that Gucci is spreading and people are appreciating its commitment.
In Gucci Equilibrium there is also a podcast available on Spotify, which are conversations with the collaborators of the brand, artists, singers, talking not just about fashion but also contemporary beauty, activism, inclusivity, technology, discrimination and more. Fashion is influenced by many aspects of life, and it is interesting listen the different point of views. Gucci understood the urgency to discuss about all these subjects, creating a community where people see themselves represented and encouraged to talk about these topics. In one episode of the podcast they highlighted how it’s important to inspire people, because those who are marginalized can understand they are not alone and we can fight together for a more inclusive world; in another episode about race and identity, an activist explained how he stayed motivated, telling that people must believe in themselves despite what any other person says. These are just few examples of the conversations people can find in the podcast, and it’s not hard to believe consumers feel an emotional connection with the Italian fashion house. Integrating the sustainability principles into activities across the company is paramount for the credibility of the fashion brand, because it means that the brand is completely involved in those values. And that’s what Gucci is doing in the Italian offices with the plastic free initiative to reduce the employees impact on the environment. In fact to reduce their carbon foot print and air pollution, Gucci placed electric charging car stations in its parking, encouraging videoconferencing meetings and reducing business trips, inviting to use public transport and sharing a car ride with more people.
We often tend to think that all the brands, especially luxury brands, are far from the value of sustainability, neglecting the problems of our planet and the weakest people. When consumers have a platform like Gucci Equilibrium, where they can read targets and reports, they feel they can trust the brand because there is a communication based on transparency and the will to give something real to people. This is the strategy that the Italian fashion house is pursuing to reduce the environmental impact and generate a positive change for people. Gucci is giving to consumers the chance to choose a fashion brand where sustainability and creativity coexist, safeguarding natural resources.