Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Why Louis Vuitton Is Turning Down Its Store Lights and Thermostats

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If you find yourself catching a chill the next time you’re in a Louis Vuitton store, it’s on purpose. Parent company LVMH says it’s turning down the thermostat and the lights inside its flagship brand stores to conserve energy as part of its ongoing sustainability efforts.

Reducing store temperatures and decreasing lighting will reduce LVMH’s energy use by about ten percent over the next year, the company said. It operates more than 500 stores and 110 production sites in France.

“Although our group uses very little energy, we are aware of the visibility and impact our decisions can have in leading the way for others. This energy efficiency plan represents an unprecedented effort that we hope will have a positive impact across the sector and beyond,” LVMH head of image and nevironment Antoine Arnault told WWD.

“We are acting today in a very concrete way to respond to the unprecedented energy crisis we are facing,” Arnault said.

Energy reductions

LVMH will be implementing reductions across all of its brands. Moët Hennessy will reduce energy use by 15 percent next year, the company said. The wine and spirits division of LVMH is also taking other sustainability measures namely at its new €20 million research facility announced last year.

moët hennessy sustainable
Moët Hennessy’s Robert-Jean de Vogüé Research Center in Mont Aigu, France | courtesy

The decision comes after French president Emmanuel Macron urged the country to reduce power usage as energy and gas prices continue to climb due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising inflation rates.

Louis Vuitton will turn off lights three hours earlier, leaving them off from 10pm through 7am. Its offices will turn off lights at 9pm. It will also reduce the thermostat temperature one degree in the winter, and turn it up one degree in warmer months. The shift will happen in France, first, but stores around the globe are expected to follow. France also announced that the Eiffel Tower would dim its lights an hour earlier.

Reducing lighting and energy can help save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Lighting alone uses about 25 percent of all electricity in the U.S., for example. Burning fossil fuels for electricity and heat produces more than half of all global emissions.

Louis Vuitton is an early adopter of the plan, drafted by France’s prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, last month. Borne urged companies to take steps to reduce their carbon footprints.

Louis Vuitton Men SS21 show
Louis Vuitton Men SS21 show

“If it comes to rationing, companies will be the first to be hit and we all need to prepare for it,” Borne said during a conference last month.

Rising energy costs

“All companies need to mobilise and take action. I call on each one to draft their own energy savings plan in September,” she said.

Borne also noted that there are cost saving measures to the move as well. Caps have largely protected France from price increases on Russian gas, which provides for about 17 percent of France’s consumption, but concerns over access are bringing more pressure.

“This necessary, indispensable investment will weigh for a long time on the public accounts and make each financial decision more difficult,” Borne said.

In France, LVMH’s energy use—about 354,000 MWh per year—comes entirely from sustainable sources, according to the company. Globally it’s at nearly 40 percent. Its LIFE 360 initiative outlines plans to achieve 100 percent renewable or low-carbon energy by 2026.

The world’s largest luxury group will also train its employees to reduce their personal energy consumption with suggestions including taking the stairs instead of elevators and switching to electric cars and supporting secondhand markets.

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