June 22, 2011

What Are the High/Low End Companies Doing?

More and more, we are seeing companies, from high to low-end, re-aligning their business strategies in efforts to be more socially and environmentally conscious. Whether their intentions are altruistic or simply a greenwashing marketing strategy, companies of all industries are recognizing that we are shifting toward a culture that places a greater emphasis on social and environmental change. And in a world where information is easily and instantaneously accessible, it is imperative for companies to remain honest and transparent as customers are quick to either support or criticize your brand.

Today, we examine several of the latest endeavors catching our attention. All of the efforts described below have been chosen for it's emphasis on collaboration, commitment, and innovation.

photo via: Adidas Group

1. Adidas Group

The Adidas Group represents several of the leading sportswear labels including Adidas, Reebok, TaylorMade, and Rockport. So as a company with such a large background, any effort made by the group creates a large impact. As one of the founding members of the Better Cotton Initiative (others include Ikea, H&M, Marks and Spencers, and Levis), the Adidas Group is proactively working toward sourcing 100% of sustainable "Better Cotton" by 2018. "Better Cotton" is cotton grown to social and environmental standards set by the multi-stakeholder Better Cotton Initiative. 

Setting annual incremental targets for the quantity of "Better Cotton," they are approaching their goal realistically and practically. As one of the founding members of Better Cotton Initiative, the company is also financially supporting farmer education, which is integral to increasing the supply and maintaining longevity of "Better Cotton." Working collaboratively and going straight to the source, the Adidas Group is allowing a clear cooperation with their suppliers and therefore, gaining a better understanding of how to move forward. 

Through their Strategy 2015 program, Adidas Group also aims to reduce their environmental footprint 15% by 2015. Ultimately calling to become a zero-emissions company, by 2015, the group plans to cut relative energy usage by 20 percent, cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, and reduce paper usage by 50 percent per employee.  Looking at everything, from production, sourcing, manufacturing, to store and sales operations, the company is taking an ambitious, holistic approach to revamping their environmental initiatives.

photo via: The Coveted

2. Prada: Made In
Mario Prada, Miuccia Prada's grandfather, was a lover of world travels. Always in search for precious materials and expert artisans, the first Prada products were made by artisans all over the world using materials such as rare ivory, tortoiseshell, ebony, and precious stones and leathers. Prada's "Made In" collections recaptures the heart of Mario Prada through the current visions of granddaughter, Miuccia Prada.
photo via: Luxist

The current collections are focused on the craftsmanship of Scotland, India, Japan, and Peru. "Prada Made in Scotland" displays traditional tartan wool kilts; "Prada Made in India" features handmade garments using the Chikan technique, an ancient form of Indian embroidery. "Prada Made in Japan" works in collaboration with Dova, the world's most sophisticated denim manufacturer. And "Prada Made in Peru" offers a collection of alpaca wool knitwear using artisanal techniques from traditional Peruvian "campesinos." Although the project was discussed last year, it is only this year that the collections begin to hit stores.

photo via: Ecouterre

3. Parsons School of Design Collaborates with Airdye
Knowing that Parsons is always seeking to be the educational leader in incorporating sustainable design practices into their curriculum, we were thrilled to hear their latest project with AirDye, a technology managing the application of color to textiles without the use of water. As the sustainable alternative to traditional dyeing and printing processes, AirDye technology creates new design capabilities while reducing cost.

photo via: YouTube

Last fall, Parsons worked in collaboration with AirDye, allowing a selected group of students to incorprate the AirDye technology first hand. Three talented designers were selected to integrate custom AirDye fabrics into their thesis projects, resulting in truly unique looks, perfectly exemplifying the future of sustainable fashion. Each designer carried a completely different aesthetic, displaying the versatility of the technology, yet all using 90 percent less water and 85 percent less energy than conventional dyeing methods.

photo via: WWD

4. Gucci
Although these new shades won't hit stores until the fall, we are already in love with these super chic and eco-friendly frames. The luxury brand collaborated with eyewear manufacturer Safilo to design eyewear using a special type of acetate that contains a higher percentage of natural materials, aiming to reduce the use of petroleum-derived plastic. It will also present mask-shape sunglasses made in a natural material made from castor-oil seeds. Not forgetting about packaging, the company will also introduce a more eco-friendly eyewear case. Presented in classic green and red shades, this collection promises to be a signature look for their future.

photo via: PSFK

5. Pantene 
As the world's biggest hair care brand, Pantene's latest decision to source mainly from sugarcane for their new packaging may lead to huge strides in protecting the environment. Although the new packaging is barely noticeable to customers, the switch is expected to cut the brand's fossil-fuel consumption by 70 percent and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 170 percent.

While it is a costlier process, the switch will not impact the customers as a representative states, "It is an investment to be at the forefront and as the technology becomes more mainstream [costs will decrease]." This transition will take place in a 18 month period, affecting 180 countries where it's sold.

And although this is only a small modification, each small step leads to a big difference. We hope, and strongly believe, that this will be just the first of many changes to come.

photo via: YouTube

6. PPR
Recognizing sustainability as the new leverage for staying above it's competitors, PPR group announced the launch of a new group "PPR HOME" in efforts to set new, higher standards of sustainable practices in the luxury, sport and lifestyle, and retail sectors. Quoting Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of PPR, "My deep conviction that sustainability creates value is part of my strategic vision for PPR...PPR HOME will provide us with novel, more sustainable approaches to contribute to a better world for the long run."

With an annual €10 million budget, PPR HOME will provide expertise, support, and creativity to all of it's PPR brands. In case you are unfamiliar with PPR, PPR represents a wide range of fashion brands including Puma, Redcats, Bottega Veneta, YSL, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney, just to name a few In partnership with Cradle-to-Cradle®, they are working together to integrate and apply environmental and social concerns to their products and services. Focusing on internal initiatives, non-profit initiatives, and for-profit investments, PPR HOME seeks to drive forward sustainability with creativity and innovation, and vice versa. Through Wildlife Works, the brand has already began work in Kenya, helping local communities and their efforts to conserve biodiversity.

photo via: Ecouterre

7. Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry
Aiming to become a 100% sustainable company, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry has introduced a bridal collection that is entirely made of sustainable diamonds and recycled platinum or gold. Working in partnership with Waldman Diamond Company, all diamonds are supplied from Diavik and Ekati mines in Canada and are conflict free and in compliance with the Kimberly Process. As already a founding partner of the United Nations Foundation's Girl Up campaign, Trump began actively researching sustainable diamonds last year before finalizing the partnership with Waldman Diamond Company.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, I especially enjoyed the notes about Ivanka Trump's sustainable and recycled jewelry. I feel like many people over look the negative effects of mining on the environment and surrounding communities.


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