Start small, start now
Sustainability for luxury brands

Finding the Right Balance between Luxury and Sustainability

Sustainability is moving up the agenda for the luxury sector and many brands have been undertaking significant projects to improve the sustainability of their brands. From sourcing responsibly to reducing packaging, moves to boosting sustainability start internally. New initiatives are sparking cultural shifts, better communication and education of teams and customers to deliver greener and more sustainable outcomes

In a nutshell…

  • Continuous communication. Encourage ongoing discussions on sustainability, ensuring it remains a constant dialogue
  • Data integration. Even for brands in the early stages, integrate data allocation on trust into operations
  • Empowerment through customer touchpoints. Embed sustainability into customer touchpoints for empowerment, not just preaching
  • Education on sustainable practices. Extend sustainability efforts beyond recyclable products, educating customers on proper disposal
  • Start small, start now. Initiate sustainability efforts with achievable targets and build on them. Avoid certain materials
  • Messaging and measuring. Communicate with simple, honest messaging and start measuring early, even for small businesses

A closer look…

Sustainability in action

It is crucial for brands, whether newcomers or veterans to sustainability, to integrate data allocation on trust. Bringing sustainability into customer touchpoints, making it more about empowerment than preaching, will drive results for brands. Sustainable practices extend beyond recyclables, and members discussed how customers need support on proper disposal. The consensus among Hive members is to start small with achievable targets, dodging certain materials, and keeping the messaging simple and honest for effective sustainability practices.

The complexities of measuring emissions and audits, especially when dealing with business expansion and unavoidable travel, continue to hamper brands’ confidence in tackling sustainability challenges. Some brands play it safe, refraining from big sustainability claims until they can ensure accuracy and realistic goals. Early implementation of measurement tools and shouting out sustainability efforts, even for the smaller players and no matter how uncomfortable it might feel, is strongly encouraged by Hive members.

Still to do…

Tracing material origins, especially in sectors such as jewellery, can be a headache. In the automotive sector, there are naturally many industry-specific challenges which require creative thinking to tackle. For the majority of Hive members, packaging materials continue to throw up challenges and, of course, there’s the lurking risk of greenwashing which can hamper confidence and initiation.

There is also a big piece still to deliver around industry collaboration and education. While standardisation and shared metrics could make a huge difference in sustainability efforts, aligning luxury retailers across sectors and overcoming competitive drivers is still a challenge. 

Source: The Retail Hive: Luxury Exchange roundtable on “Finding the Right Balance between Luxury and Sustainability“, February 2024

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