Ahead of its Life 360 Summit at UNESCO in Paris, French luxury conglomerate LVMH has announced significant strides on its sustainability journey, with major initiatives in both the U.S. and the U.A.E.
In Miami, during Design Week, LVMH announced a comprehensive plan to revamp its 22 storefronts located in the Miami Design District. This ambitious project aims to reduce the climate impact and serve as a template for sustainable practices across LVMH’s 5,600 stores worldwide. The plan includes using rainwater for various purposes, switching off lights after business hours, and sourcing green electricity.
Anish Melwani, LVMH’s North American chairman and CEO, highlighted the importance of such initiatives, noting, “These sustainability initiatives are one of the few things we do at the LVMH level,” Melwani said. “Our brands are very distinctive; they’re the ones focused on craftsmanship and creating desirability. But it would be very silly for them to do research about the best practices at retail locations one by one. By doing it at the group level, we can partner with the landlords and have a greater impact.”
Melwani emphasized the challenge of incorporating local sourcing for store interiors, a move that will necessitate creative adaptation but could yield innovative design solutions. The construction process will focus on recycling demolition debris, using sustainably sourced wood, and locally sourcing a significant portion of new building materials. With the goal of fully transitioning to green energy sources by 2025, LVMH is demonstrating a commitment to sustainable energy consumption.
“There’s no question that seeking to have the vast majority of materials come locally will influence the design (of the stores),” Melwani said. “Would there be some creative directors who will be annoyed by this? Sure. But let’s be clear: Creative directors get annoyed by lots of stuff; it’s kind of their thing. On the other hand, they also come up with some of their most brilliant ideas when they are working against constraints.”
In addition, LVMH’s partnership with Hang Lung Properties in China has laid the groundwork for the Miami initiative, suggesting a broader strategy for engaging with landlords globally in sustainability efforts.
Life in Stores initiative
Simultaneously, at the COP28 event underway in Dubai, LVMH announced a significant agreement with leading U.A.E. mall developers to minimize the environmental impact of shopping centers. This move aligns with the conglomerate’s broader environmental action program, Life 360, which encompasses four pillars: fighting climate change, protecting biodiversity, promoting creative circularity, and ensuring traceability.
Antoine Arnault, LVMH’s Director of Image and Environment, underscored the importance of these initiatives, stating, “In keeping with the ambitious sustainability goals set by LVMH as part of our Life 360 roadmap, the Life in Stores initiative is key to optimizing our stores’ environmental performance and reducing their footprint.” He further highlighted the synergy between offering a unique customer experience and adhering to high environmental standards.
“Our maisons strive to offer customers a unique experience, and we adhere to the highest standards, from the design and operation of our stores to the focus we place on our customers and society. These two new commitments with major local partners in the U.A.E. and in Florida (United States), announced today, are an important step in aligning our commitment to excellence in distribution with our climate ambitions. This requires an ongoing effort to improve the environmental performance of our 5,600+ stores worldwide,” Arnault said.
LVMH also expressed “delight” that Berluti has become the first luxury Maison to achieve Full Project certification from the Forest Stewardship Council(FSC) at its storefront located in the Mall of Emirates.
“We are delighted with the FSC certification of the first Maison Berluti store. Thanks to its commitment, the LVMH Group is doing its bit to help conserve forests, through an innovative, brand-new project in the luxury sector. The FSC project certification also demonstrates the commitment of all stakeholders involved, from architects to artisans. Ensuring the wood materials used in construction or development projects are responsibly sourced is essential to supporting the eco-responsible approach of managers of certified forests. At a time when forests are facing so many crises (climate change, biodiversity loss), they can also provide solutions,” said Aurélien Sautière, Executive Director, FSC France.
LVMH’s sustainability efforts in the U.A.E. are complemented by its Amazon sustainability project in Brazil, focusing on biodiversity, and support for Stella McCartney’s ‘Sustainable Market’ pavilion. These endeavors reflect LVMH’s holistic approach to sustainability, balancing environmental concerns with luxury and innovation.
The luxury conglomerate also revealed the first results of its partnership with Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA) — a partnership announced last year. That program saw training of approximately 500 farmers near Lake Chad with 12 hectares of land reserved for a lab and training center. As well, the program launched a 0.5-hectare tree nursery to support area farmers.
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