PPR Group Brings Sustainability Initiative to Gucci, Stella McCartney and Yves Saint Laurent

PUMA Grip Bag photo

Puma's Grip Bag made from recycled workers coveralls. Photo: PPR

Fashion conglomerate PPR Group -- home to luxury labels Gucci, Puma, Yves Saint Laurent, and Stella McCartney -- is stepping up their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with the launch of PPR Home, an in-house sustainability team headed up by PPR Chief Sustainability Officer Jochen Zeitz, PPR has announced (via Ecouterre).

The first order of business is "to reduce the social and environmental footprint for its Luxury, Sport and Lifestyle brands." This includes a Creative Sustainability Lab, which will, through a partnership with Cradle-to-Cradle, re-think and re-consider product and business development.

STELLA MCCARTNEY manteau Missy Coat photo

Evergreen Organic Wool Missy Coat by Stella McCartney. Photo: PPR

PPR Group formed PPR Home to implement best business practices, work toward reducing and mitigating its social and environmental impacts, and develop opportunities for the benefit of people and their environments, according to the press announcement.

Francois- Henri Pinault, CEO of PPR, had this to say about sustainability and the brand's initiative, PPR Home:

My deep conviction that Sustainability creates value is part of my strategic vision for PPR. Sustainability can - and must - give rise to new, highly ambitious business models and become a lever of competitiveness for our brands. PPR HOME will provide us with novel, more sustainable approaches to contribute to a better world for the long run.

And so, could sustainability be the new luxury? I certainly hope so. When I see beautiful clothing at designer price points made from materials like polyester it makes me sick. (Honestly, I don't know how anyone who wears fabric that doesn't breath can feel glamorous--or comfortable, for that matter--but that's just me.) When I think of true luxury clothing, I think of John Patrick Organic's Fall 2011 collection, which is timeless, classic, made with locally-sourced quality materials. Now that's something worth investing in for its long-term wearability.

GUCCI photo

Gucci shopping bags made of 100% recyclable and FSC paper. Photo: PPR

This year, we've already seen luxury designers tip toe in the field of sustainability with the Runway to Green fashion show in which designers from Balenciaga to Burberry donated clothing--some green and others not so sustainable--to benefit top environmental nonprofits.

Similarly, PPR's initiative could be the beginning stages of what Sass Brown calls the "trickle-down theory," in that luxury fashion labels have the potential to influence mass market producers and customers. This is a point Julie Gilhart touched upon at the Afingo Fashion Forum in New York. In short, she said, it's the major players that need to jump on board (the sustainable fashion bandwagon) to make an impact.

So welcome to the band, PPR, we're looking forward to seeing how you play.

Also a stylist and the founder of PastFashionFuture.com, Emma Grady is the resident fashion expert at TreeHugger.com. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
More PPR
Gucci's Luxury Packaging Gets a Green(er) Makeover
Would You Pay $195 for an Organic Cotton Tee? Luxury Brands Go Green to Support Yann Arthus-Bertrand's "Home"
Green Carpet at Stella McCartney's: Eco-stars watch documentary "Home"

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