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Gucci presents expanded, nature-positive climate strategy

By Simone Preuss

29 Jan 2021

Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci has expanded its climate strategy, which now goes beyond carbon neutrality and takes a “nature-positive approach”. Gucci’s new Natural Climate Solutions Portfolio is committed to protecting and restoring endangered forest and mangrove areas and investing in regenerative agriculture within its supply chain.

Gucci has been carbon neutral since 2018 in its own operations and across its entire supply chain by following the mitigation hierarchy: avoid, reduce, restore and then, as a last measure, offset its remaining greenhouse gas emissions through nature-based solutions every year. While Gucci’s new climate strategy continues to prioritize emissions reduction, it drives supply chain transformation parallelly to create a positive impact on biodiversity and climate.

“The evolution of our strategy incorporates a series of clear climate actions that will continue to prioritize reducing our emissions and drawing down CO2, which allows us to maintain carbon neutrality across our entire supply chain. At the same time, we are investing in regenerative agriculture as an important pillar of our approach. Led by science, Gucci’s new Natural Climate Solutions Portfolio protects and restores important ecosystems that mitigate climate change, while providing lasting biodiversity and climate benefits for years to come,” commented Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzari in a press release this week.

“We want to be part of the solution for nature and climate by mainstreaming practices and systems that will transform nature from being a victim of climate to becoming an actor to change climate, which will ultimately determine the future of our planet,” added Bizzarri.

Gucci wants to protect critical forests and mangroves

As part of its commitment to protect critical forests, Gucci has invested in the Chyulu Hills REDD+ project in Kenya with partner Conservation International and the Kariba REDD+ project in Zimbabwe with partner South Pole. Both projects mitigate climate change, create a positive economic and social impact for local communities and protect endangered wildlife and their habitats. As part of the commitment to protect mangrove areas, Gucci has invested in the Muskitia Blue Carbon REDD+ project in Honduras with its partner South Pole. The project will protect nearly 5,000 hectares of mangroves and over 285,000 hectares of forest from deforestation. Mangroves store up to ten times more carbon than mature terrestrial forests, however, 30-50 percent of the world’s mangroves are already lost and they continue to disappear at a rate of 2 percent each year. When these ecosystems are damaged or destroyed, an enormous amount of carbon dioxide is emitted back into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change.

Regenerative agriculture

As the first step in a broader, long-term strategy for regenerative agriculture, Gucci is also working on feasibility studies with Conservation International, South Pole and Native to identify and scale up regenerative agriculture projects within its sourcing regions, with the aim to source regenerative raw materials for its products.

Going beyond its own supply chain, Gucci is also incentivizing farmers to switch to regenerative agriculture through ‘carbon farming’. As such, Gucci has directly funded Native’s newest regenerative projects for wool and leather, globally covering 3,075 hectares and allowing for the capture of approximately 25,000 tons of CO2 over the next five years or an estimated additional 200,000 tons of CO2 over 32,000 hectares of land over the projects’ lifetime.

As part of this initiative, Gucci has funded woolgrowers in Patagonia to enable them to convert to regenerative grazing on 1,800 hectares of grasslands, which will promote soil health, water quality, increased biodiversity, animal welfare best practices and carbon sequestration for the long-term. Overall, Gucci is championing a shift from the chemically intensive farming that traditionally produces fashion’s raw materials to agricultural systems that actually replenish and strengthen nature rather than depleting it.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

As far as greenhouse gas emissions are concerned, Gucci is pursuing various strategies to reduce them. One such approach is the switch to renewable energy in stores, offices, warehouses and factories. Here, the share is currently 83 percent and the aim is to increase it to 100 percent by 2022.

In addition, Gucci is extending sustainable processes and manufacturing efficiencies, such as metal-free tanning, Gucci Scrap-less and Gucci-Up, and reducing waste from manufacturing. So far, the company was able to avoid 3,000 tons of CO2e. By sourcing sustainably and incorporating organic fibers in its collections, Gucci reduced 179,000 tons of CO2e, with the goal to source 100 percent sustainably by 2025.

Last but not least, Gucci is aiming to increase the use of recycled and regenerated materials across nylon, cotton, cashmere, polyester, precious metals, plastic and packaging to support a circular economy. The Gucci Off The Grid collection, under its new Gucci Circular Lines, is a step in this direction. In addition, Gucci has created new circular business models such as the pre-loved Gucci digital shop in partnership with The RealReal.