Luxury brands have come under fire from an environmental campaign group, which has lashed out at their unsustainable business practices.
Iconic brands such as Bulgari, Hermes and Tiffany & Co have been singled out for criticism by World Wildlife Fund in a report, which highlights poor environmental records of companies that promote a luxury lifestyle simply by trading on their designer brands rather than producing articles of genuine quality.
WWF interviewed a range of brands and graded them according to their environmental reporting policies – though many do not yet report on their own sustainability. It then picked out a cross section of those brands to illustrate the state of the luxury market.
Luxury brand Tod’s came last in WWF’s ten-strong league table, while L’Oréal, which owns The Body Shop, came first. None of the companies scored more than a C in a league table graded A-F.
So far, luxury brands have mostly escaped the eagle eyes of environmental campaigners, who have been stalking airlines and oil companies.
However, the WWF report points out that consumer definitions of quality are becoming linked to sustainability.
‘Value can be provided via benefits to the people, communities and environment affected by production, marketing and distribution,’ says the report. ‘These benefits help to build the intangible value of the brand. This implies and requires a high level of collaboration between marketing, design and other business functions.’
It implies that if luxury brands do not change to reflect this, they face losing out to more eco-friendly manufacturers.