French fashion house Chloé has become the first luxury label to achieve B Corp status, the company announced this week.
Credit creative director Gabriela Hearst and a luxury industry quickly redefining its ethos to include sustainability, equity, and inclusivity as key drivers in Chloé’s B Corp status. The move ushers in a new era for the brand and luxury fashion at large.
“We upgraded our operations, governance, and policies in a way that allows us to operate in a more environmentally and socially responsible manner,” Riccardo Bellini, CEO of Chloé, told WWD it’s all part of what it means to be a “purpose-driven” brand.
“Beyond the fact that we are proud of it as a company, we also aim to inspire many others to join,” he said.
B Corp is considered the gold standard in third-party certifications, subjecting companies to more than 300 questions about their practices. Specifically, B Corp status (short for the Benet Corporation) looks to both social and environmental impacts. Applicants are ranked on a points system; it takes at least 80 points to meet the criteria. B Corp status is no small feat; out of more than 100,000 that have applied over the years, only 3,500 have achieved the status.
“It was significantly more challenging than I could have expected,” Bellini said. “It’s a deep and considered audit and works across all the different areas of the company.”
A new dawn for Chloé
The certification comes less than a year after Hearst joined the label as creative director. Under Hearst’s direction, Chloé has embraced recycled materials, vintage collections, and social justice causes. Her most recent SS22 show featured Chloé Craft, a handmade collection aimed at supporting artisans.
The show featured the new Nama sneaker, made with 80 percent less water and emitting 35 percent fewer emissions than its predecessor. The collection also featured fabric leftovers as well as sandals made from upcycled flip-flops recovered from the sea.
The company says these efforts, among others, have led to a 400 percent decrease in its carbon footprint in just a year.
Bellini says the B Corp status symbolizes the beginning of the label’s journey and its efforts to support profits, people, and the planet.
“It’s all about the mind-set of continuously challenging ourselves to improve, and to bring the full equation of financial, social and environmental value to the table in every decision we make,” he said.
Chloé joins a host of other well-known labels including U.S.-based outerwear giant Patagonia, one of the leading B Corp companies in the world, along with Eileen Fisher, Allbirds, and Toms. It also joins fellow French fashion brand, the resale platform Vestiaire Collective, which announced its B Corp status just last month.
“We join a real community of leaders who share a mind-set, and the belief that business can be a force of good,” Bellini said. “[B Corp] offers you a framework of where you’re strong, where you need to improve in order to set your sustainability, environmental and social sustainability agenda for years to come.”
The brand is also partnering with Fair Trade-certified social enterprises and efforts that encourage employees to support local NGOs.
“B Corp offers us a powerful framework to accelerate and guide this transformation,” Bellini said. “By becoming B Corp today, we reinforce our commitment to continuously [challenge] ourselves to use our brand and our business as a force for good.”