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Sustainability and the Culture of Excellence

Posted by: Rebecca Robins on June 12, 2013
Cartier emerald, opal and diamond necklace

As the world of luxury has turned its attention more seriously to the imperative of sustainability, continued initiatives of a number of leading brands demonstrate how their culture of excellence is fostering a more responsible business model, from the early stages of the supply chain through to the more microscopic touchpoints. Here we take a look at inroads that are being made by Best Global Brands Cartier, Hermès and Tiffany & Co.

Sourcing of materials is an environmental challenge for brands and one that is creating new approaches in the process. Amongst its various endeavours in this effort, Hermès has adopted a beautifully literal approach to sustainability, repurposing materials with its line that would have otherwise been discarded for not meeting its quality of excellence criterion. An innovative and worthy approach that is manifest under the moniker of Petit h.

Tiffany & Co Legacy CollectionCartier works to source gold from ethical and artisanal miners such as Goldlake’s Eurocantera. As a member of the Sustainable Luxury Working Group since 2009, the brand extends sustainable sourcing beyond the core of its jewelry portfolio to all aspects of its creations.

Tiffany & Co. has continued to play a leading role in its efforts with the mining industry, working with IRMA (Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance). Currently 98% of all of the brand’s stones are directly traceable to a known miner, and an increasing number of these conform to high standards of social and environmental responsibility.

Expanding their efforts across touchpoints, these brands have worked to address items from light bulbs to shopping bags. Cartier redesigned its entire lighting concept, has had its red box and bag paper content FSC-certified and commits to keeping both solvent and plastic free. Tiffany & Co.’s NY headquarters have been consolidated into a LEED-CI Platinum office space and its iconic blue box and bags are also FSC-certified.

Tiffany & Co. has been awarded the US EPA’s Goal Achievement Award for excellent in greenhouse gas (GHG) management. The brand also works with NGOs such as EARTHWORKS and Human Rights Watch and has signed the United Nations Global Compact.

Hermes“Corporate responsibility is integrated into every aspect of our business,” says Tiffany & Co. CEO Michael J. Kowalski. His words set the tone for a brand that is at the vanguard of a commitment to sustainability.

The Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès, through its work with the French Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), supports a number of initiatives promoting the value of local traditional skills to help preserve communities and environments. Its internal brand engagement efforts include an “eco-action” day, to raise awareness across the business.

Addressing supply chain, communicating their commitment and integrating their values throughout their organisations are the new imperatives for brands. Hermès, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. are demonstrating a combined breadth and depth that are setting a foundation for many years to come.

Rebecca Robins is Director, EMEA LatAm, for Interbrand.

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