KERING AND SUSTAINABILITY
François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, is married to Salma Hayek, and controls the most coveted fashion brands. Most people would just rest and stop when they acquired their billions, but Pinault is not stopping there. He wants to save planet Earth with his very own initiative.
Pinault, who owns 16 brands including Saint Laurent, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, McQueen and Stella McCartney, set a series of goals in 2012 to be met in four years that address every damaging aspect of the supply chain. His 2016 sustainability report was to be celebrated.
“Desires are short-term; we’re all about dreams. Fast fashion is about desire. Luxury is about dreams, so it’s all the time. You cannot make people dream if you’re cheating by offering a product that is a nightmare behind the scenes.”
Kering’s companies are using more recycled paper in packaging, improving working conditions, and eliminating some toxic chemicals, among other accomplishments. Its company’s stock has doubled in the four years since he’s implemented his plan.
“I succeeded my father. I always heard him telling me that whatever the size, a company needs to pursue a cause that is beyond the profit target you usually have. It’s a matter of being a part of the society where you want to do business, or not. I’m here for a certain number of years, and I hope I will transmit [Kering] to someone else, be it my son or anyone. The question is, what am I going to build in the meantime? My father built something extraordinary; I want to leave something that is. I strongly believe this will be, I hope, my legacy.”
He partnered up with Stella McCartney, known for not using leather, to work on new technologies coming from biotech. They’re trying to create leather from living animal cells; but it won’t be possible before 10 to 15 years. One of the London College of Fashion students that won the award from Kering was based on mushroom leather. Big mushrooms that grow around trees are parasites.
Sustainability is more costly, but it’s definitely worth it; and it’s the future of fashion.