We were delighted to interview our WIL Member Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs for Kering ahead of her appearance as a guest speaker at our recent Online Debate. We spoke about Kering’s role leading the charge on sustainability within the textile industry. Learn more about Marie-Claire in this interview.
Companies are playing a crucial role in global efforts to stem the Covid-19 spread and to mitigate its economic and societal impact. How has Kering responded to the pandemic? What have been your main actions and how did you, at Kering, effectively decide what you should focus on first?
The health and safety of our employees has been our priority since the very early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak. Kering and ourHouses have been protecting our employees and workers in the supply chain and ensuring business continuity, whilst simultaneouslycontributing to the fight against the pandemic globally.
Throughout this period, Kering and our Houses have carried out several initiatives to support medical staff and health institutions, and those affected by Covid-19. Given the scale of the situation, we were active in several regions, and in each region we offered our support to suit the local needs. For example, we donated funds to Italy’s four major foundation hospitals and to organisations like the World Health Organisation and the Hubei Red Cross Foundation. In addition, several of our brands recalibrated their supply chain factories to make PPE for the medical community.
Another response that Kering took in the face of Covid-19 was in helping combat the notable spike in domestic violence caused by the pandemic. The Kering Foundation quickly responded to support its NGO partners by giving emergency funds and launching awareness raising campaigns, which provided information and tailored resources for women who have been especially vulnerable during this period.
The health and safety of our employees
has been our priority since
the very early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak
The COVID-19 pandemic reshuffled the priorities of European leaders and the EU is now set on reinforcing its efforts to launch sustainability as the main driver for growth. What are your views on the European Commission’ s sustainability commitments and the European Green Deal?
The European Green Deal presents an exciting new opportunity to set priorities in terms of the environment and people in an unprecedented way at the European level. It places sustainability at the core of the EU strategy and roadmap, as we do at Kering. This will undoubtedly support a larger shift throughout Europe towards the adoption of sustainability best practices, at both the governmental and corporate level. For instance, part of the Green Deal is about reporting on corporate environmental impacts - this will help drive transparency and accountability, which is key to stimulate climate action. At Kering we have been a leader in this transparency movement for some time through our Environmental Profit and Loss accounting, which is both a public report and an internal driver for change.
Overcoming both the economic and environmental crises will require a shared ambition and collective efforts. Even before the crisis, you promoted the necessity to work together, as evidenced by the launch of Kering’s Fashion Pact last year. Could you tell us more about this initiative?
At Kering we have always believed that collaboration in the fashion industry is essential to change the industry’s many outdated and unsustainable systems. This was the premise behind creating the Fashion Pact - to galvanise a commitment to common environmental objectives focusing on three major issues: climate, biodiversity, and oceans.
A year ago, our Chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault, presented the Fashion Pact to President Emmanuel Macron and the G7 leaders, and an update on its progress was recently shared. Since launching the Fashion Pact, membership has doubled to over sixty signatories from international leading companies in the fashion and textile industry, together representing over two hundred brands and approximately 35% of the fashion industry. This level of involvement is critical to ensure positive change along fashion’s supply chains - particularly around collaborative action and areas where scaled solutions are needed to achieve critical mass on a global scale.
The coalition has already made some key first steps, including the development of a public digital dashboard of KPIs to measure the members’ joint impact. There is real momentum behind the Fashion Pact, and it is now well mobilised in its journey to impact lasting change.
This summer, Kering published its Biodiversity Strategy, committing itself to a net positive impact on biodiversity by 2025. What are some of the strategies you will employ to achieve your targets?
Having a detailed strategy for biodiversity is key for companies to ensure they not only strategically mitigate their impact on nature, but also work to protect and restore nature. Our new biodiversity strategy is focused on the prevention of biodiversity degradation, the promotion of sustainable and regenerative farming practices favouring soil health, and the protection of global ecosystems and forests that are vital for carbon sequestration.
Alongside our previous environmental commitments, we set up new biodiversity targets with a goal to have a “net positive” impact on biodiversity by 2025. Part of this includes converting one million hectares of farms and rangelands in the Group’s supply chain landscapes into regenerative agricultureand, further, to protect an additional one million hectares of critical habitat outside of our supply chain. To help us do this, as an example, we partner with organisations on the ground like the Savory Institute to promote the regenerative production of raw materials. Our new ‘Kering for Nature Fund’ will also help support the fashion industry’s transition to regenerative agriculture more broadly.
Having a detailed strategy for biodiversity
is key for companies to ensure they not only
strategically mitigate their impact on nature,
ut also work to protect and restore nature.
What other SGD targets are you working on at Kering, and could you share with us some of Kering’s best practices?
Our social and environmental targets are linked to the Sustainable Development Goals and we have mapped the SDGs alongside our key initiatives. More specifically, whilst Kering can contribute directly or indirectly in variable proportions to each of the 17 SDGs, there are 7 SDGs which we can have a more significant impact than elsewhere: SDG #3 (good health and well-being), #5 (gender equality), #6 (clean water and sanitation), #8 (decent work and economic growth), #12 (responsible consumption and production), #13 (climate action) and #15 (life on land).
On an operational level, our detailed Kering Standards outline our best practices across raw materials and production processes, which our suppliers need to adhere to. We also have a Science Based Target on climate, and we are supporting the development of a Science Based Target for biodiversity, as well as having set the foundation to align with a 1.5-degree pathway for the Group.
You have been a member here at WIL Europe for a long time. Why is it important for you to be involved in a network dedicated to female leaders and to promote gender equality in general?
A dedicated network for female leadership provides a space where we can discuss how to maintain a healthy work/life balance with our peers. It is also very important to have the opportunity to exchange best practices and experiences in our professional environments – and sectors – where women are usually not in the majority. Promoting gender equality but also diversity in all its forms is crucial to ensure that all voices are at the decision-making table to create better outcomes for our people and our planet in the future.
Promoting gender equality, but also diversity in all its forms,
is crucial to ensure that all voices
are at the decision-making table to create better outcomes
for our people and our planet in the future.