The new 140-page release — what LVMH calls its “first comprehensive social and environmental report” — emphasizes applying a circular economy to the luxury industry. This will be especially applicable in the conglomerate’s approach to materials, which will be produced with a minimal environmental footprint from the extraction of materials to their transformation.
While LVMH’s Antoine Arnault recently revealed the conglomerate has no plans to take on the resale market — a meaningful frontier in the sustainability movement — the Arnault-run group is instead focusing its efforts on what it calls “creative circularity.”
This involves eco-design practices that will be implemented across all of the group’s businesses, from its Fashion & Leather Goods division to its Selective Retailing arm. “What is driving us, it’s not secondhand, but it’s a second life for our products — both for our clients and for us,” Hélène Valade, the group’s environmental development director told WWD.
Luxury groups have long stressed the longevity of their products as a way to boost their environmental credentials. With this in mind, LVMH’s shift to eco-design includes plans to bulk up services for clients like repair and polishing, as well as upcycling and recycling leathers and furs. LVMH asserts that “sophisticated repair services, upcycling, reuse of precious raw materials, and efforts to find alternative materials all feed into the Group’s circular economy strategy.”
We’ve already had a peek at what these efforts could look like, courtesy of upcycled pieces from luxury brands in the group, like upcycled sneakers designed by Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton’s spring collection, and a woven leather handbag from Loewe made from leather scraps.
The group also said it would beef up efforts in the area of transparency. This means offering an entire value chain of primary materials, “from the field to the store.” The group aims for all products to come with a system to provide information for clients by 2026. By 2030, LVMH pledges to have a specific traceability system for each type of primary material, using blockchain technology.
Such a comprehensive eco-strategy offers a new source of inspiration and creativity for the industry at large. LVMH is the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, and by outlining and implementing its actionable eco-design plans, the ripples will surely be felt across the luxury sector.