A wind turbine on a grassy hill at sunset with mountains behind.

With high-profile runway shows, coveted collections, and celebrities donning haute-couture gowns on the red carpet some of the world’s oldest luxury designer brands like Chanel, Gucci and Dior lead the way in the fashion industry. Their direction has the potential to alter its course — including its sustainability.

With luxury, labour-intensive materials like fur and leather and changing trends, brands have been in the sightline of not only animal rights campaign activists, but also climate change advocates.

With growing pressure from eco-conscious celebrities and consumers, these high fashion powerhouses are adapting.

Luxury Designer Brands and Their Sustainability Pledges

Most have commitments in place. Each covers sustainability and climate impact from a different angle, including…

  • Commitment to ethical working conditions and fair wages
  • The use of animal products
  • Tackling their carbon footprints
  • Reducing waste

But how far do their pledges go? How are fashion giants like LVHM and Chanel addressing the issue of climate change?

Below we look at 6 of the most influential fashion houses and break down some of their leading climate and sustainability pledges.

1. Chanel – Mission 1.5º 

2030 is the current target for Chanel’s sustainability trajectory. In their official Mission 1.5º report, they have collated a set of science-based targets that align with the Paris Climate Accords and Glasgow Climate Pact from COP26.

One of their most prominent targets is the commitment to use 100% renewable energy by 2025.

2. Prada: Together For Nature

The Prada Group has a number of sustainable initiatives in play. From their recycled Re-Nylon collection, released in 2019, to their Sea Beyond programme that teaches young people about ocean preservation, which is also supported by profits from their Re-Nylon collection. Nylon is an integral part of the Prada brand, so moving to a recycled nylon alternative was a key step in making the brand more environmentally conscious.

Their date-bound emissions targets were a little hard to find. But Prada currently has a commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 29.4% (with 2019 as the baseline year).

The recent collaboration with actress and environmental activist Emma Watson on their Paradoxe perfume displayed the brand’s commitment to adapt. The fragrance is refillable (a first for Prada) and is also designed to weigh less to reduce transport emissions

3. LVHM: LIFE 360

In 2020 Louis Vuitton created a responsibility report which outlined its social and environmental pledges. It outlined targets such as switching all stores and facilities to renewable, low-carbon energy by 2026 and reducing carbon emissions from these locations by half.

They have since built upon this pledge with a new initiative called LIFE 360. It re-outlines their previous commitments in a more transparent manner, with 2023, 2026 and 2030 highlighted as key milestones for change.

Both Louis Vuitton and Fendi clearly embrace the LIFE programme as set out by LVHM. Christian Dior, also under the LVHM umbrella, has made commitments to social and environmental causes, but currently has no clear targets.

Louis Vuitton offices in Singapore. The building glows with light against the night sky. The LV logo stands out the most.
Photo by Felix Fuchs on Unsplash

4. Hermès: Sustainable Development

Hermès has an extremely clear set of actionable, date-bound targets. They include targets to use 100% renewable electricity in direct operations, and 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Their climate page also clearly states their current carbon footprint, which highlights the brand’s open and honest approach. Hermès’ ultimate emissions-based goal is to achieve net zero emissions status by 2050.

Hermès is also a key supporter of designer bag repair, which helps to keep designer items more sustainable and embraces the idea of circular fashion.

A secondhand Hermès Kelly bag from Timeless Vintage

5. Gucci Equilibrium

Gucci’s social and climate commitments have been collated into an official impact report called Gucci Equilibrium.

Compared to other brands, it’s a really comprehensive and clear breakdown of their achievements. Some milestones include:

  • In 2018, Gucci stopped using fur and agora.
  • In 2021, all online purchase deliveries were officially carbon neutral
  • In 2020, they surpassed their carbon reduction target for that year, as part of their 10-year plan to reduce their overall footprint by 40%.

6. Burberry Beyond

British-based fashion brand Burberry has a series of commitments covering the environment, people and communities. Titled Burberry Beyond, their programme includes date-bound pledges including the commitment to become net-zero by 2040 and to become an overall ‘climate positive’ brand.

While other brands are aiming to reduce and neutralise their emissions, Burberry is actively aiming to create a positive impact on the planet.

Burberry storefront in London.
Photo by Felix Fuchs on Unsplash

Featured Image: Photo by Pixabay


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