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 the coming 2018 year.
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.
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
We have evaluated the use of organic silk for all our accessories.
Beginning autumn/winter 2018, all Gucci scarves will be 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!
Over the last four years we have quadrupled the amount of cotton sourced through initiatives such as GOTS that make the fibre more sustainable. Last year we purchased around 102 tons of GOTS-certified cotton that is about the same weight as a blue whale, and equates to 13% of all the cotton we consume.
We are now using certified cotton in our menswear and childrens’ ranges. Referring back to our EP&L accounting principles we know this is important. EP&L analysis shows organic cotton to have an impact that is 80% less than convention.
The key principles underpinning the Kering Standard for cotton include:
– Ensuring high standards of labour and working conditions for farm workers
– Reducing the environmental and health impacts of synthetic chemicals
– Using water efficiently and responsibly
– Restoring soil biodiversity and ensuring no detriment to natural ecosystems
At Gucci we’re currently investigating the possibility of increasing FSC-certified viscose in our ready-to-wear products. Forest-based products that include rayon, viscose, Modal or lycocell are increasingly important in fashion and can be more eco-friendly than either synthetics or cotton.
But we need to make sure that we are avoiding destructive forestry practices in order to gain from using them. Our principles and work are all about making good choices that last in order that we have true Equilibrium.
Synthetic fibres are increasingly a source of worry for many as they are largely oil-based and have been shown to contribute to marine pollution.
In order to reduce our reliance oil-based synthetic fibres, we are working to increase the proportion of recycled and plant-based fibres we use at Gucci.
We have now incorporated Newlife™ polyester into our ready-to-wear collections.
This is an engineered fibre made 100% from post-consumer bottles, which are sourced, processed and spun into yarns using a mechanical (not chemical) process. The yarns are exclusively made in Italy with a fully traceable supply chain. Gucci was also the first luxury brand to use Econyl ® recycled nylon in ready-to-wear pieces, a 100% recycled nylon fibre derived from fishnets, textile waste and a thick pile fabric used for carpets and upholstery called moquette.
Gucci is committed to turning the tide on the unnecessary use of plastic. We have also moved to rid our products of problematic plastics that are difficult to recycle and reuse and we continue to work in this area. For that reason we no longer use PVC anywhere in our products.
In order for the circular economy to flourish, we need to create more opportunities to use and buy recycled plastics.
Wherever possible we are switching from virgin plastics. In 2015, we began replacing virgin plastic in the heels of shoes with a recycled Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) plastic and, in 2018, we will produce 40,000 pairs of shoes with Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) soles which contains 50% bio-plastic content. This is a very literal way of reducing our carbon footprint by displacing virgin oil and the emissions that come with it.
We are also evaluating the use of a new generation of solvent-free coated fabric with a base of bio-plastic (instead of PU).
key principles underpinning the Kering Standards include:
– Minimising the use and release of toxic substances during
manufacturing in ways that entirely avoid the most hazardous types of plastic (i.e. ban of PVC).
– Encouraging the use of recycled content plastics and bio-plastics
Kering’s Environment Profit and Loss (EP&L) Account analysis that 1 kilo of Bio- based Plastic has 72% less impact than tradition oil based TPU.
Our programme to use recycled metals in accessories is well under way. Any time that we can offset the extraction of virgin materials from mines, is a win for the planet.
This can take us to some unexpected areas. Last year we introduced recycled palladium from catalytic converters used in healthcare. In a new lease of life, they found their way into our accessories.
Currently, 22% of palladium coating used for our metal accessories is recycled.
Our commitment is to maximize the use of recycled metals in all our products by 2025.
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Gold is quintessential to luxury products. It continues to carry incredible allure for us. But it does of course come with an environmental and social impact, one that we are doing our utmost to reduce.
Gucci follows the Kering Responsible Gold Framework.
The Kering Responsible Gold Framework has been developed to create an innovative and smart way to source gold in a responsible manner. It is supplemented by a financial mechanism that directly supports artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) through a dedicated fund.
The premium is allocated to the Kering Gold Fund, to be invested into sustainability projects in ASMs, both Fairmined and/or Fairtrade, or to ASM communities working towards responsible mining. It’s a mechanism that is helping to shift an entire industry.
Since November 2015, all gold purchased by Gucci for jewellery has been certified under the Responsible Jewellery Council Chain of Custody certification scheme in order to help us identify the origin and to guarantee verified responsible sources. This forms part of our mission to trace all materials in our supply chain.
The key principles underpinning the Kering Standard for gold include:
– Supporting best practices in the industrial gold mining industry
– Supporting the social development of artisanal and small-scale miners, and their communities by sourcing gold through social programmes such as Fairtrade and Fairmined schemes
Gucci has been a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) since 2011. We continue to work hard alongside industry partners to enhance oversight of our precious stone supply chain.
We are also working alongside the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) to enhance the traceability of our diamond supply chain.
The key principles underpinning the Kering Standards for diamonds include:
– Complying with all applicable laws, conventions and regulations
– Ensuring that all diamonds purchased by the brands come from legal sources certified by the Kimberley Process, a programme whose mission is to prevent so called ‘conflict’ or ‘blood’ diamonds from entering the market