LUXURY AND SUSTAINABILITY, CAN THERE BE A MATCH?
It is not rare that you hear about scandals in the world of luxury. The sale of blood diamonds, the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh, the use of fur… What is going to be next?
You may have seen the movie Blood Diamond, released in 2007. It has raised the question of blood or also called conflict diamonds mined in war zones as it was done during the civil war in Sierra Leone. This movie opened the eyes of many people, making them wondering about the ethics of luxury. It is no surprise that the sales of some renowned jewelers have suffered after that.
Luxury is all about excess and is often said to be unethical. At first sight, luxury has therefore nothing to do with sustainability or sustainable development…
AN UPHEAVAL IN THE CONSUMERS’ MIND
Luxury is about being the very, very best. And most consumers of luxury goods – who are typically well-educated and aware of the current environmental and social issues - do not consider products that cause misery or environmental damage as being superior. Through their behavior and purchases, these wealthy clients want to show that they care about sustainable issues and therefore they also want their favorite luxury brands to reflect the same concerns for a better world.
That is why luxury labels had to adapt their production and marketing strategy to these new concerns.
LUXURY BRANDS HAVE THE MEANS TO INSPIRE
Who among us can say that he never wanted something from Chanel, Prada or Cartier?
Luxury companies make people dream. They have the power to be extremely influential, even in the opinion of people who do not actually buy their products. That is why they can inspire people through their marketing and are expected to promote sustainable development by telling people more or less directly what to care about, which cause or charity to support…
LUXURY AND SUSTAINABILITY CAN CO-EXIST
Stella McCartney is a great example. Her brand claims to be eco-responsible and uses innovating organic materials instead of leather.
Also Louis Vuitton took advantage of its influence and fame to promote sustainable development through the “Louis Vuitton Core Value Campaign”. One of the pictures of this campaign features Bono and his wife Ali Hewson in South Africa, wearing clothes from their own sustainable fashion line “Edun”.
And luckily: There are more and more examples we could list!