Italian fashion house Gucci has announced a new strategic partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to accelerate its vision of a circular economy and regenerative agriculture for the future.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a charity committed to creating a circular economy that delivers better outcomes for people and the environment and Gucci’s partnership with “further strengthen our commitments to circularity and regenerative agriculture,” said president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri in a statement.
The partnership will build on the fashion house’s existing circular economy strategy underlined by the three key principles to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature while expanding the company’s ongoing sustainable initiatives.
“For us, purpose and progress are paramount to the very ethos of Gucci,” added Bizzarri. “We are constantly experimenting and evolving to drive positive impacts in the Gucci community, and in the wider world.”
Gucci to accelerate circular economy and regenerative agriculture
The foundation said that it will support Gucci to “further scale and embed the principles of the circular economy”. The initial collaborative phase efforts include the Italian fashion house’s increasing its collections with circular principles across its products’ life cycle by innovating on products that are "used more, made to be made again, and made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs".
Ellen MacArthur Foundation added that it will also analyse Gucci’s efforts to help pinpoint areas where circularity can be embedded in the design and inspire creation. It will also provide educational resources and courses to “deepen knowledge and operational know-how of circular economy principles and practices”.
Another key initiative will be to advance regenerative agriculture by providing Gucci with insights to inform and enable the brand to champion and source regeneratively. This builds on Gucci’s investment in regenerative projects that began in 2020, under its Natural Climate Solutions Portfolio, across key raw materials.
Andrew Morlet, chief executive at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, added: "We are thrilled to be partnering with Gucci to redesign the future of fashion. Through Gucci's passion for people and the planet, and the Foundation’s circular economy expertise, we can innovate towards industry-led solutions for fashion designed to be used more, made to be made again, and made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs.
“Shifting towards a circular, regenerative economy for fashion we can help tackle the root causes of global challenges including pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss.”
Gucci unveils 2021 Gucci Equilibrium Impact Report
The news coincided with Gucci unveiling its 2021 Gucci Equilibrium Impact Report, which summarises the luxury brand’s commitments, progress and action taken to generate positive change for people and the planet while looking toward the future.
Bizzarri said that the second report was a testament to Gucci’s resolve “to continue building a responsible and sustainable business,” and showcases that the label has achieved tangible and measurable results, including reducing its total footprint, increasing employment diversity, and impacting positive social change through its Chime For Change and Gucci Changemakers programmes.
In his letter introducing the report, Bizzarri said: “As we celebrated our 100th anniversary, we also celebrated the continuation of our legacy to experiment and evolve for an ever-changing world. We looked to our past in order to define our future, which we now know is implicitly linked to the future of the planet that we call home.
“Over the last year, our commitments to building a responsible and sustainable business have been just as important as our creative identity. In fact, we see our creativity as our strongest tool for finding new solutions to move forward into a better future.”
Of the progress made by Gucci in 2021, Bizzarri said that he was “especially proud” of the progress on diversity and inclusivity, including gender equality and accessibility. The report notes that Gucci increased employee diversity in corporate and retail and that 58 percent of its female members were in management roles and 42 percent of female members in senior management roles.
“Diversity is an integral part of our culture; it drives creativity and we embrace everyone’s unique qualities,” added Bizzarri.
The report, utilising 2021 data and Gucci’s new Environmental Profit and Loss results, revealed that the fashion house had reduced its total footprint by 49 percent, covering greenhouse gas emissions, water use, air and water pollution, waste and land use. With its greenhouse gas emissions alone dropping by 46 percent since 2015 relative to growth. Gucci also attained 100 percent green energy in 44 of the 49 countries where its stores, corporate locations and factories are located.
Bizzarri also stated that part of Gucci’s vision for “responsible” luxury included transforming the supply chain to give back to nature, not just minimise their impact on it. To do this Gucci will continue to invest in regenerative agriculture, helping farmers transition to regenerative farming and support farming projects for regenerative wool, silk, cotton and linen.
“Regenerative agriculture is a lever for luxury and fashion to help reverse the trajectory of climate change and biodiversity loss, and our ambition is to source regenerative raw materials for our collections in order for us to continue to innovate in design and manufacturing,” explained Bizzarri.
Other nature-positive highlights included Gucci introducing its innovative animal-free material, Demetra, which combines quality, softness and durability with an eco-friendly ethos. The material was first used on three sneakers and has now been incorporated across its collections including Gucci Off The Grid, which now includes more than 70 products from shoes to accessories and luggage.
Gucci has also increased the traceability of its raw materials reaching 95 percent overall, with 99 percent traceability for its plant-based and animal-based materials. It has also recovered 290 tons of leftover leather, 215 tons of textile scraps, and 67 tons of metal accessories and donated 9,000 meters of fabric to NGOs in Italy through Gucci-Up.
The Italian fashion house also reduced its leather manufacturing footprint with Gucci Scrap-less, with 13 tanneries participating in the programme reducing 253 tons of leather scraps, saving 95 million litres of water, and avoiding 15,730 kilograms of waste production, and avoiding 1,085 tons of CO2.