CSR and Luxury in an age of Transparency

Isaac Mostovicz writes that that the luxury industry is becoming more tuned in to Corporate Social Responsibility...

I have recently written on the link between luxury brands and Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, so it was with interest that I read the Financial Times blog post “Luxury conquers its CSR fear” which reported that the luxury industry is slowly beginning to talk about sustainability and CSR more openly.

The article gives the example of luxury jewellery brand Tiffany & co. who have recently launched a new website dedicated to CSR. This is interesting because a few years ago the author of the Financial Times piece ‘graded ‘some public luxury companies in CSR categories, and Tiffany did particularly badly, in part due to a lack of public information.

Tiffany & Co: CSR section of the website

Tiffany & Co: CSR section of the website

It looks as though, the article argued, luxury brands have realised that in an age of transparency it is better to have information out there for consumers to see, rather than hiding information behind closed doors in the fear that consumers will pick holes in it.

It is not just Tiffany that is doing well – LVMH also has a section on CSR on their corporate website, with an environmental charter.

This article illustrates that the luxury industry is beginning to change, and  I believe that sustainability and luxury are no longer mutually exclusive terms. This not only makes good sense for the long-term prospects of the brands in question, but can also be a positive attribute in luxury marketing – particularly if the brand aligns its CSR initiatives to core brand values and identity, and resonate with consumers.

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Sustainable Packaging and the Luxury Brand

Isaac Mostovicz writes that that packaging is an area where luxury brands can be sustainable without losing their individual aesthetics ...

I  have previously written on the relationship between sustainability and luxury, such as in my posts ‘Can luxury be sustainable?‘ and ‘Positively Luxury‘. It was interesting, therefore, to read this article on Triple Pundit titled “Trendwatch: Luxury Brands Improve Sustainability Packaging“.

The article’s author writes that:

“…it is [ ] packaging that sets apart drugstore brands from luxury brands… since luxury brands and mass-market brands have different target markets, their packaging should reflect this.”

When shopping in store, particularly for luxury goods such as perfumes, packaging is one of the first things that consumers see.

The Estee Lauder senior vice-president of global package development, Henry Renella, said (speaking at a Luxe Pack event in Monaco) that luxury brands can be sustainable while being subtle about their eco-credentials. Packaging still needs to reflect the brand’s aesthetics if the brand is to remain successful, but can be sustainable, particularly if made out of paperboard (which is often FSC certified) or glass.

The rise of the luxury market in Asia has been well documented, so it is perhaps not surprising that the Asia-Pacific region is now the leader in luxury packaging, and according to the article, Asia has a key role to play in hastening sustainable luxury packaging.

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Can luxury be sustainable?

Isaac Mostovicz writes that luxury can be sustainable...

I believe that luxury can be sustainable, so it was interesting to read this recent post on the Guardian Sustainable Business blog. It argues that luxury goes hand in hand with sustainability, reading ‘luxury’ as “placing an importance on durability, buying less and better”

The article, written by Diana Verde Nieto, goes on to argue that:

“positive luxury isn’t as far away as we may think… those who want products of the highest quality do not have to compromise on ethics – luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand.”

One does not have to look far to see luxury up-cycled goods – where products that would be thrown away or materials that would be discarded are turned into another item – such as these bags from British designer Vivienne Westwood.

There is a definite case for certain luxury clothes, handmade in small batches by skilled workers in developed countries rather than made in sweatshops by children, for example, being the more ethical choice.

Luxury and sustainability can indeed go hand in hand, whether by embracing green agendas or by up-cycling goods that would otherwise be turned into landfill, and I am sure we will see more sustainable luxury goods to meet an increasing consumer demand.

Jewelry Supplies says of this article...

Good to know about your information i like it.
Thanks for post..

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