Luxury Brands go Green: Who's Next?

Published: Jul 02, 2009


With the rapid downfall of our economy increasing over the recent months, consumers have been forced to eliminate a percentage of the goods that they normally spend on in order to make ends meet.  As expected, luxury goods are the first to go—cars, expensive clothing, jewelry, salon treatments, etc.

However, there has been a turnaround in the market for luxury goods, especially in the jewelry industry.  Familiar high-end fashion icons such as Versace, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. are pursuing a new power to regain their revenue.  The motif—Mother Nature. 

These world-renown luxury labels have begun introducing environmentally-friendly products into their marketing and advertising.  This May, French luxury composite LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton took a wager on Edun, an organic-clothing company founded by U2 singer Bono and his wife. 

Other companies such as Tiffany & Co. are advertising steps to promote resource conservation.  This summer, customers around the globe will see the windows of this popular jewelry franchise featured with images of coral reefs.

“We want to change the way we conceive our business, socially and environmentally”, said Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive of PPR SA in an interview with Rachel Dodes and Sam Schechner of WSJ.   This French retail behemoth sponsored a documentary film that highlights abuse of the environment by man.

“The luxury industry’s adoption of eco-friendly ideas mirrors the challenges that the world’s most glamorous brands face.”  While catering to a younger generation of shoppers who take the environment into consideration more often than the traditional luxury buyers in the aftermath of a failing economy, the industry is attempting to reinvent their brands by promising great design, craftsmanship and service to their clientele. 

The Luxury Institute discovered that “younger and well-to-do consumers seek information regarding corporate social responsibility more so than their older and poorer counterparts,” according to the WSJ.  “Young consumers feel that it is important to care about the environment in order to create a meaningful life”, said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute.  A February survey by Cone found that 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 24 said that they have “higher expectations of companies to make and sell environmentally responsible products and services during the economic downturn.”

What do you think readers?  Would eco-friendly products encourage you to spend more on luxury items?  Decidedly with more consumer products companies embracing environmentally-friendly practices, suppliers, etc., there will be creation of jobs. And then the demand will be for people skilled in green info, energy utilization, eco-friendly strategies and a whole new gamut of environment-related specializations.

Are we equipped to handle this influx? Visit our Education section to see what colleges and universities are already offering related courses. Visit our Vault Guide to Green Careers accessible through the Corporate Responsibility tab to see which companies are beginning to go green!

-Posted by Danielle Correa