LONDON, United Kingdom — Can fashion companies actually do good? This week, we explored fashion’s B-Corporations, companies with the objective of pleasing not only shareholders, but also other stakeholders, such as society-at-large or the environment, for example. In an insightful piece, BoF’s Kate Abnett explored the rationale for securing B-corp status, as well as the potential business benefits that can accrue to such businesses from focusing on wider goals.
“Our certification looks at the entire company, not just the product. It looks at how you treat your workers, your community and the environment. The larger you are, the harder it is to get through the assessment, as there are so many more moving parts,” said Katie Kerr, director of communications of B Lab, the organisation that conducts the assessments for achieving B-Corp designation.
But at least one large corporation is taking on the challenge. François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering, took centre stage in London this week, declaring that large global brands can also incorporate values and principles designed to achieve objectives beyond sheer profit, and announcing a five-year partnership between Kering and the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion.
“We all have a contribution to make, as business people, as educators, and as students,” said Mr Pinault in a keynote speech at LCF on Wednesday evening. “Transforming our industry so that it addresses our social and environmental challenges is a formidable task, but is an achievable one.”
Importantly, Mr Pinault also unveiled Kering’s E P&L (or environmental profit & loss account) which takes into account factors other than profit in measuring performance, and which holds each of Kering’s businesses to account, examining carbon emission, water use, water pollution, land use, air pollution and waste. “It enables us to measure and put a monetary value on our environmental footprint across entire global supply chain, right back to where we source our raw materials,” he said. “It is helping us as a business prepare for potential future risk and resource availability.”
And as Mr Pinault observed, Kering are willing to share their learnings with their competitors, as this is something the whole fashion industry must think about, and address, without delay.
Please enjoy our top stories for the week gone by:
Fashion’s B Corporations Blend Business with Social Good
A ‘B Corporation’ is a for-profit company that commits itself to the pursuit of social goals. But can being a B Corp also have business benefits?
Isabel Marant Says Build a Strong Base and Stay Focused
Over the last 20 years, Isabel Marant has built a successful global brand that, last year, generated €150 million in revenue. How did she do it?
Behind Zegna’s Big Bet on Film
Why did menswear giant Ermenegildo Zegna invest in a big budget film targeting China? BoF spoke to the brand’s creative director, Stefano Pilati, to find out.
Mexico Enters the Limelight
As Brazil’s fashion market gets ever more crowded, Latin America’s smaller giant to the north begins to finally shine.
The Creative Class | Loïc Prigent, Documentarian
BoF sits down with Loïc Prigent, fashion’s preeminent documentarian, to talk about his professional trajectory and how he approaches his métier. The Creative Class is supported by CLIO Image, an awards show honouring creative excellence in fashion, beauty and retail.
Op-Ed | Remembering David Armstrong’s Grit and Glamour
Curator and editor Ken Miller remembers the late art and fashion photographer David Armstrong, who helped pioneer a genre of personal documentary photography, both gritty and glamorous.
How 4 Management Consultants Broke Into Fashion
BoF talks to four former management consultants, now working in top positions in fashion, about their unconventional career paths.
And don’t forget to check out BoF Weekly, a week in review published with Flipboard and updated every Saturday.