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Not so carbon neutral: Gucci adjusts sustainability goals

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Gucci Salon, Los Angeles

Gucci is under scrutiny for reportedly adjusting its approach to reduce its environmental impact, raising questions about the future of sustainable fashion. The report has drawn attention to Gucci's ambitious decadelong plan to reduce its environmental footprint, according to the Business of Fashion.

Gucci was very vocal about its carbon neutral claims in September 2019. At the time the company stated that it had offset its greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and supply chain for the previous year. Gucci achieved this through supporting three UN-backed REDD+ projects in Peru, Cambodia, and Kenya.

To achieve carbon neutrality, Gucci pledged to become carbon neutral across its entire supply chain by 2020. Additionally, the brand set targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and waste production by 50 percent by 2025. This commitment to sustainability reflected Gucci's broader strategy to minimise its environmental impact.

While some praised this move as a positive step towards sustainable fashion, others remained skeptical of carbon offsetting as an effective solution to combat climate change. Critics argue that offsetting fails to address the underlying causes of emissions and may perpetuate greenwashing practices.

Need for transparency

Gucci's decision to adjust its carbon neutral claim can be interpreted as a response to these criticisms, reflecting a desire for greater transparency. The brand stated that it is reevaluating its approach to offsetting and exploring alternative strategies to reduce its environmental impact. Parent company Kering has not made any statements or updates to its sustainability claims or initiatives across its Group.

The issue of fashion companies making false carbon neutral claims is a growing concern within the industry. While some brands genuinely strive to reduce their environmental impact, there have been instances where companies have engaged in greenwashing, misleading consumers about their sustainability efforts.

It is crucial for consumers to be discerning and hold brands accountable for their claims. Scrutinising the transparency and credibility of a brand's sustainability initiatives, such as verifying their carbon offsetting practices and certifications, can help in identifying companies that are genuinely committed to reducing their environmental footprint. Gucci, one of luxury fashion's most powerful and profitable businesses, can be no exception.

This article has been adjusted after publication to provide clarification that Gucci's sustainability efforts are still ongoing. This change was made 19 May 2023.

Sustainable Fashion