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How Sustainability Platform Positive Luxury Is Plotting Its Growth

Lorelei Marfil
Contributor Retail

Karen Hanton and Diana Verde Nieto
Karen Hanton and Diana Verde Nieto COURTESY PHOTO

Sustainability platform Positive Luxury is known for guiding brands and labels to take greener steps and work towards a more environmentally-sound model. Launched by Diana Verde Nieto and Karen Hanton in 2011, the company is comprised of over 170 members including Christian Dior, IWC and Louis Vuitton.

The company’s Positive Week, which includes talks, panel discussions and consumer events has grown since its inception. The event is in its ninth year and it has extended beyond London and into Paris and New York with a panel in each city. “Positive Week brought to life the sustainability activities of other luxury brands, through the energy of the presenters and the dialogue with a diverse group of participants,” says Franziska Gsell, chief marketing officer at IWC Schaffhausen and Positive Week panelist.


Among the companies that have taken more of a sustainable initiative include LVMH, Stephen Webster and IWC. “The way LVMH has implemented a circular economy throughout their Maisons is revolutionary,” said co-founder of Positive Luxury Diana Verde Nieto. “Stephen Webster’s new Reset initiative, which he launched during Positive Week this year, repurposes and reimagines old jewellery to create something completely using existing materials. IWC’s packaging is completely reusable and they’ve drastically cut down on all the plastic involved in their production and reduced their volume by 50 percent.”

Stephen Webster
Stephen Webster COURTESY PHOTO

Nieto notes that while the fashion industry is definitely “getting better” at becoming more sustainable, it’s not quick enough. While some firms are on their way to undertaking a more sustainable approach, Nieto believes that companies need to adjusting their mindset. “The culture of the business needs to change and become a sustainability-focused culture,” said Nieto. “That means, from the governance of the business i.e. diversity and inclusion to innovation. What I mean by innovation is beyond the normal product R&D cycles or supply chain but into new business models and the adoption of circular economy.”

The company has released its annual report which outlines and helps set the sustainability scenario for the upcoming year. Positive Luxury has collated case studies, and included interviews with leaders as well as thoughts that have occurred within the past year.

Nieto notes that in the past 10 years, Asia has been angling itself as a key player against climate change. “Our case study reviews some of the legislative changes that have taken place in China during the last few years,” said Nieto. “Such as the piloting of the new recycling scheme in Shanghai – and presents a case study about how Japanese giant Rakuten is trying to make sustainable consumption the norm.

She also states that actions are not up to par. “The climate emergency has led to the adoption of governmental programs worldwide,” said Nieto. “However, as the UN Secretary-General declared during the COP25 international climate summit that took place this month, these actions have failed to deliver so far. This scenario has pushed us to rethink the concept of leadership.”

Nieto also notes that emerging generations are using their wallets as a voting ballot. “Concerns about climate change and the impact of our actions on the preservation of biodiversity are directly having an impact on the way we do business.” said Nieto. “Investment funds are now motivated by consumers’ sustainable values, circular business models and the sharing-economy are more relevant than ever before, making it clear that we now value experiences over ownership. Our hyper-connected and fast-paced society is now seeking to slow down and reconnect with nature. The longing to free our minds and bodies up is redefining the luxury travel industry and is also a trend being embraced by the beauty industry.”

 The company’s future plans is to focus on global expansion as well as their Butterfly Mark, Positive Luxury’s sustainable distinction for brands. “Our plans for next year are to get the Butterfly Mark into the hands of the consumer,” said Nieto. “So they can measure the impact of their purchases, and to take the business global. Our number one goal is to keep expanding our initiatives on a global scale. And to retain our leadership position as the partner of choice for luxury lifestyle brands to tell their story and validate their sustainable actions through the Butterfly Trust Mark. But above all, it’s to equip consumers to make the most educated decisions about which brands they can trust.”

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