Animal Based Materials
Animal welfare means ensuring ethical practices for the humane treatment of animals in farming, transportation, handling, and slaughter.
Our parent company, Kering has established detailed standards governing the procurement and production of leather throughout our supply chain.
These are built on the essential rules developed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), specifically the Five Freedoms:
– freedom from hunger, malnutrition and thirst;
– freedom from fear and distress;
– freedom from physical and thermal discomfort;
– freedom from pain, injury and disease; and
– freedom to express normal patterns of behavior.
We have been working to develop new tanning processes that eliminate the use of heavy metals (‘metal-free’ tanning) and reduce the overall environmental footprint and toxicological impact. In 2015, metal-free leather was incorporated into the design of three iconic bags and three wallets.
Since then, we have dramatically scaled-up metal-free leather production from 0.2% of our total production (2015), to an estimated 8% for 2018. We have also developed a guidebook for best-practice leather production. It will outline best-practice in industrial-scale tanning processes and will be published later this year.
The guidebook will cover:
– The elimination of the hazardous chemicals used in the tanning process
– The reduction and/or reuse of waste and by-products from manufacturing and tanning
– The reduction of water consumption and/or better quality of wastewater
– The reduction of energy consumption and reduction of emissions
Gucci has taken steps to move far beyond compliance. For example, our leather does not come from farms or ranches driving deforestation.
In 2018, we reviewed and refined how we collected data for each batch of leather used for leather goods and footwear. We recorded the traceability of 99% of leather up to the slaughterhouse.
To confirm the legitimacy of the data we collected, in 2018 we conducted the first audits on traceability with the support of ICEC, the specialized Certification Institute for the leather sector.
At Gucci we recognise that the earth sets the limits of production. Accounting for our resource use and impact so thoroughly, means that we are able to take evidence-based action where it counts. When we know resources are under ecological pressure we switch to alternatives.
Our investment in and understanding of low-impact materials and processes means we can make that switch. An example of where that might be necessary is provided by cashmere. The ecological footprint of cashmere for example has worsened over time. Increased herds and climatic pressure have turned parts of Mongolia that once sustained cashmere goats into a dustbowl. Our parent group, Kering has taken a decisive step to stop the degradation of this ecosystem by including cashmere in its Standards for raw materials.
The standards not only identify the problem but contribute a programme of reform, supporting ecological research into restoring the grasslands so that cashmere production can become sustainable. Part of taking the pressure off vulnerable fibres, is to pioneer new fibres and methods of production that are in line with Circular Economy principles (where no material is wasted, but set off into a cycle of continuous use, collection and re-engineering).
In 2015 Gucci adopted Re.Verso™ for use in its Ready-to-wear collections. A breakthrough innovation in re-engineered cashmere, Re.Verso™ creates a way to transform textile-manufacturing scraps into a fine wool, that is fully traceable, high quality and 100% made in Italy.
It also brings huge savings when compared to the production of conventional wool, including an 82% reduction in the consumption of energy, a 92% reduction in the consumption of water and a 97% reduction in CO2 production. All of this is good news for the planet.
When calculated for EP&L impact, these factors add up to a 60% saving.
To get a closer look at how the EP&L works, see this graphic.
If you’d like to play around a bit more with the EP&L, and make great choices for your own wardrobe, search for and download the EP&L app.
Gucci is aiming to increase the quantity of Re.Verso™ in its products. In the meantime, we have sourced the highest quality cashmere from a Mongolian supplier.
The principles that underpin the Kering Standard for cashmere include:
– Maximising ecological sustainability: supporting cashmere production that does not degrade natural ecosystems but rather restores and protects soil, plants and wildlife
– Ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare
– Ensuring social and cultural benefits and supporting local livelihoods
For the uniforms worn by Gucci sales assistants in-store, we have chosen ZQ Merino wool and organic cotton. These fibres sit well with our values.
ZQ Merino fibre is backed by an on-farm accreditation programme, launched in New Zealand. The programme verifies the highest standard of quality and practice. The sheep farmers behind ZQ Merino maintain high standards of animal welfare, environmental stewardship and social sustainability. The ZQ Merino programme prohibits the practice of mulesing.
The principles that underpin the Kering Standards for wool include:
– Maximising ecological sustainability: supporting wool production that does not degrade natural ecosystems
– Ensuring high standards of animal welfare
– Ensuring high standard of labour and working conditions
In 2018, Gucci bought around 4% of GOTS or ZQ certified wool.
We have evaluated the use of organic silk for all our accessories. Beginning autumn/winter 2018, all Gucci scarves are manufactured using Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified silk. GOTS is a world-leading independent standard for certified organic material.
With this certification in place, we can be sure that no pesticides, insecticides or hazardous chemicals have been used, from the production of the silk fibre to the finished cloth. Gucci is currently assessing the use of natural dyes in the production of silk accessories. So watch this space!
In 2018, approximately 10% of the total silk used was GOTS certified, registering a significant increase compared to 1% in 2017.