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Chanel unveils ambitious sustainability plan

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Chanel has unveiled a new sustainability initiative to directly address climate change and the role the Maison can play in lowering its carbon footprint. The privately-held company aims to become a leading luxury player to embrace sustainability at the forefront of the fashion industry.

Chanel Mission1.5

Called Chanel Mission 1.5, the name of the plan is derived from the Paris Climate Agreement, which set out to limit the world’s mean temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The mission includes four key commitments: reducing the carbon footprint of all operations and the supply chain; switch to 100 percent renewable electricity on a global basis by 2025 andbalance residual carbon emissions. Chanel will further finance projects that will help small farmers and businesses to be less vulnerable to climate change by investing in resilient and low-impact raw materials and innovative start-ups in the packaging sector.

Chanel also mapped the carbon footprint of marketing initiatives and events (which represent 10 percent of total emissions, against 26 percent which instead belongs to raw materials and 24 percent linked to the transport of finished products).

Investment in regeneration and offsetting projects

While Chanel is focused on decarbonising its operations and value chain, the company is also committed to taking action outside of its own business activities in order to balance its residual carbon emissions. The company is doing this by investing in nature-based solutions, such as projects to protect and restore forests, mangroves and peatlands. Chanel stated it supports projects which follow the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) principles, and those that are certified to the highest carbon, biodiversity and community standards (such as VCS and CCBA). Such initiatives already serve to avoid and remove carbon emissions at least equal to the company’s entire carbon footprint, with the company reaching carbon neutrality in 2019.

The biggest issue of our time

Andrea d’Avack, Chief Sustainability Officer at CHANEL, said in a statement: “The climate crisis represents the biggest issue of our age and demands urgent action to reduce negative environmental impacts and drive broader change. It is our conviction that businesses have a clear role to play, alongside governments and civil society, to help protect the world’s most vulnerable communities and ecosystems from the consequences of climate change. With today’s announcement, CHANEL has made a clear commitment to accelerate the move to a lower carbon economy. CHANEL Mission 1.5° is embedded in our long- term vision, and reflects our ambitions to play our part in facing humanity’s biggest challenge and enroll the future of our company in a more sustainable world.”

The brand has taken heat in the past for its grand runway shows, which have gone to the extremes of shipping icebergs, creating a fully stocked supermarket and even a forest all in the name of spectacle. D’Avack told WWD, “We are aware that there could be environmental consequences; that’s why we are really working hand-in-hand with our partners to conceive these shows in an eco-friendly way, trying to reduce the impact on the environment, making sure that we use materials that can be reused and recycled.”

In 2018, Chanel generated 11.12 billion dollars in revenue, a figure which increased 10.5 percent from the year prior. In comparison, LVMH’s total revenue for all its Maisons and portfolio brands in 2019 was 60.67 billion dollars.

Images courtesy Chanel Mission 1.5° Report