Panel 4 Highlights: Sustainability & Innovation Forum

 

Keep reading to discover key takeaways from the 4th panel of the Sustainability & Innovation Forum: Luxury, Fashion & Beauty: Embracing Responsible Trends

1) Some people would suggest that the premise of luxury shopping – buying high-quality long-lasting goods – is sustainable by nature. It’s not, says the panel.

“The luxury sector has a really unique opportunity to define trends for mass and influence culture. While their products may be more inherently more sustainable because of durability, there are a lot of things that are not addressed like energy and water and waste that need to be actively managed” – Danielle Azoulay- Head of CSR & Sustainability, L'Oreal USA

2) Solution to Fast Fashion? Repair, Resell, Recycle

“If you know you’re only going to wear something once or twice – rent it. Now, big brands and retailers expect a rental service offering, whether if it is with a partner or internally. ” – Trisha Gregory, Co-Founder & CEO, Armarium

“This space is shifting, the way businesses operate. Uncovering new strategic opportunities like Fabscrap, it’s an interesting and exciting time.” – Danielle Azoulay

“They kind of present two customers. One who is very informed and wants 100% sustainability now. Two – a group more focused on price. A lot of the more sustainable companies aren’t totally accessible. There is a lot of opportunity to fall more on the sustainable side instead of holding it so internal.” - Jessica Schrieber, Founder, Fabscrap

3) How can brands better align themselves with Gen Z and Millennial shoppers to further their sustainability efforts? What evidence reflects their commitment?

“Part of our global sustainability goals at L’Oreal – we have 35 brands in our portfolio – each one has their own sustainability strategy or a cause alignment by 2020. We are identifying what is their unique opportunity to influence culture and society. The consumer and the next generation of consumers are really wanting to support brands that have a cause, and an ethical foundation.” - Danielle Azoulay

“We are a very millennial company. The majority of people that we work with are buying second-hand fabric because they feel like that is a more sustainable purchase because they don’t need large quantities. They understand there is waste in the industry. Students and the next generation of buyers and makers are aware where there can be changes.” - Jessica Schreiber

“Both our sustainability efforts and diversity inclusion efforts are the topics that our potential interns want to talk to us about” – Patricia Gomes, Managing Director, Head of Global Trade & Receivables, Finance North America, HSBC

“By hitting that millennial and Gen-Z and introducing them to luxury global brands for the first time is a unique experience, we democratize access to those brands.” – Trisha Gregory

4) How is sustainability driving innovation? What is working well and what are some of the challenges?

“On the banking side, I run the trade finance business for the firm in North America. We work on how can we embed sustainability into their supply chain. We look at sustainability as a way to drive innovation, funding clients and suppliers. We just announced publically a week ago with Walmart to support their suppliers in Asia. Challenges around that have to do with the accuracy of metrics around sustainability. How do we measure those standards? It’s getting in to those metrics for sustainability. We’ve done a lot of work with the Hague index, for example…” - Patricia Gomes

“On packaging, on formula on different aspects of on how its tracked and measured. We’ve created a brand called Spice. Hoping these innovations we’ve created internally can be taken outside the context of L’Oreal.There’s a lot of room for or the SPOT tool. We are also trying as much as possible to expose other companies to the work that is happening. We want as many companies to change as possible.” Danielle Azoulay

“We’ve had huge amount of interest from corporate clients, once they have the metrics in place, how can we give financial incentives for our suppliers to comply. At the end of the day, they are at consumer’s care. We are the largest issuers of green bonds, we’ve also done SDG-linked bonds for investors. Interest is coming from investors, shareholders, clients” – Patricia Gomes

“In luxury, there’s a perception that products should have elevated packaging which sometimes can be at odds with sustainability. Cosmetics are just inherently the most challenging to be recycled at the back end. A makeup compact is 12 different components in one tiny thing. Our engineers are constantly thinking about how to streamline the packaging. A brand like Keels does it really authentically. They have an ingredients list located on their website – it’s called Made Better – their program. All of these pieces together -  brands they measure their packaging against. Absolutely in line with the DNA of their brand which is creating more value.” – Danielle Azoulay

Many thanks to all of our panelists: Danielle Azoulay, Patricia Gomes, Jessica Schreiber, Trisha Gregory and Moderator Rosemary Feitelberg.