Greenpeace has thrown down the gauntlet. In November, the environmental nonprofit presented 15 Italian and French fashion houses, including Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Prada, with 25 “uncomfortable” questions about their supply chains. Its goal? To determine where the luxury sector stands in terms of toxic water pollution and deforestation. The results, released on Thursday on a new “Fashion Duel” website, was a mixed bag. Valentino topped the ranking for its “ambitious and binding commitment” to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain and products, while brands like Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton received a poor to unsatisfactory grade for their “partial commitments” and “real lack of ambition,” says Greenpeace.
At the bottom of the list were Alberta Ferretti, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Prada, and Trussardi ranked at the bottom of the list for refusing to disclose information for the survey, which examined the differing policies of high-end fashion brands on environmental issues.
“Brands at the bottom of the rank, such as Louis Vuitton, are global fashion trendsetters, but they also now have an opportunity to become environmental leaders,” says Chiara Campione, a campaigner at Greenpeace Italy. “They must take urgent and transparent action to eliminate the release of hazardous chemicals throughout their supply chain and products and put in place concrete measures to avoid contamination of their supply chain from forest destruction.”
A piece of the Amazon rainforest is destroyed every day to clear the way for cattle ranching and leather production.
A piece of the Amazon rainforest is destroyed every day to clear the way for cattle ranching and leather production for shoes, bags, and belts, she adds. A similar chain of events occurs in Indonesia, where the habitat of the last Sumatran tigers is being threatened to make low-cost paper packaging. In China, Mexico, and other places, hazardous chemicals used by the textile industry are polluting waterways.
Campione praises Valentino for pledging not only to phase out all hazardous chemicals from the entire life cycle of its products by 2020 but also for outlining a new zero-deforestation policy on leather and packaging procurement.
“Since the launch of Greenpeace’s Detox campaign in 2011, 15 major fashion brands have already committed to eliminating all releases of hazardous chemicals along their supply chain and products,” Campione says. “If these major companies, and today Valentino, have taken the step, why should we expect less from all luxury fashion brands?”