Kering thinks big with “planetary boundaries”
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Kering thinks big with “planetary boundaries”

A recent white paper explaining the concept of “planetary boundaries” (PBs – interlinking biophysical processes that define a “safe operating space for humanity” as long as they’re not transgressed by human activity) is currently having an impact on the internet’s luxury news industry. The reason is that, of the two institutions behind the paper, only one of them is expected (Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability). The other is better known for its fashion credentials than its scientific ones: the world’s second largest luxury conglomerate – Kering!

Over the last five days, Kering’s share price has appreciated by 4%

graph 22 kering

Source: Yahoo Finance

To be fair to Kering, while it’s always likely to be more famous for its designers than its scientists, the company is fast becoming one of the most science-friendly names in luxury. Over the last few years, Kering has worked hard to bring its vision of sustainability to the luxury sector and is one of the prime drivers of many of fashion’s most ambitious aims at ecological responsibility. This undoubtedly has positive ramifications for the planet, but it’s also a winning position when it comes to business – science-based opinions, environmentalism, and ethical responsibility are big touchpoints for the millennial generation.

Kering’s latest work picks up on an idea raised by Johan Rockstrom, director of the Stockholm Resilience Center in Sweden, ten years ago. With a team of 28 leading scientists, Rockstrom defined nine “quantitative boundaries” which “offer a framework that sets humanity on a course through this period of unprecedented pressure on the Earth’s resources” while protecting the “stable state necessary to support contemporary society.”

The paper is basically a primer for businesses on how to operate in an ecologically sustainable manner. Kering considers this a vital part of responsible business, writing: “The implications for business are large if efforts to avoid this are not put in place. As resource constraints heighten and inequality escalates, markets will likely rapidly shift and consumer behaviors could change markedly. A continuation of the destabilization of the Earth system could create chaos for all sectors with the escalating risk of a collapse of the globalized economic system overall as a real possibility.”

Linking Planetary Boundaries to Business” is just number one in a run of papers showing businesses how to integrate the PB framework to manifest a “sustainable, safe and just future.”


Dominion holds Kering in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.

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