Sustainability Future Report by TFL

Sustainability is like an iceberg, with most businesses only willing to engage with the
tip that appears above the water. It has long been something nice to have, and often used as a communication strategy to greenwash nefarious activities or as a box-ticking exercise in corporate social responsibility (CSR).

But this approach is no longer viable. We are at a crossroads in how we tackle long-term challenges, with the leader of the free world openly discounting climate change and calling for America First (read: bottom line first). This highly visible u-turn in global leadership has left consumers looking to the corporate world for answers. According to Havas Worldwide, 65% of consumers now believe that business is as responsible as government for driving social change, and younger generations are increasingly keen to support brands that are socially conscious. According to the Masdar Institute, 46% of Generation Z have spent more on a sustainable brand and 31% have actively boycotted a brand for unsustainable practices.

Luxury group Kering has led the way on sustainability. ‘Kering’s approach to sustainability is
all about the vision becoming operational within the company. ‘It is something concrete in our processes and our way of thinking,’ explains Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering. ‘There is no contradiction between profitability and sustainability, and there is no contradiction between sustainability and luxury either. For us, sustainability is a powerful driver of innovation and can be very sexy.’

One such sexy innovation was the recent collaboration between Kering-owned Gucci and closed- loop fabric firm ECONYL for the £9.6bn ($12.7bn, €10.7bn) brand’s outerwear collection. A less sexy, but perhaps more profound one, is the fact that all Kering executives now have sustainability targets linked to their personal bonuses.

Looking beyond the world of fashion, this report focuses on uncovering the business opportunities and best practices that can take your business below the waterline of the sustainability iceberg. Business leaders are now recognising that, in the words of Daveu, ‘the next generation has understood that not doing sustainability is not an option. It is no longer a choice’. Instead of looking at sustainability as a nagging conscience, we will explore how it can be brought into the heart of your business, driving positive commercial change from the core.

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