What makes a brand sustainable in the eyes of a consumer? Evidence from the Vogue Business Index survey of 8,400 luxury shoppers worldwide shows part of it comes down to how much they like the brand.
The panel was asked to rank the extent to which each brand behaved in a responsible way towards society. No brand scored particularly highly on this measure, nor did the consumers show much recognition for any specific policies that brands were taking.
One strong correlation did emerge: brands that scored particularly highly on the consumer sentiment metrics, like Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Chanel, were also among those rated as the best performers on ESG measures. Some but not all of those brands are leaders in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). Chanel, for example, did not lay out the bulk of its sustainability roadmap until after polling was conducted.
This disparity reveals the challenge that brands face in communicating their sustainability strategies. In 2019, fashion sustainability pacts were formed and brands made efforts in achieving carbon neutrality that does not yet seem to have resonated with consumers. (No brand with sustainability placed front and centre in its marketing or brand image, like Stella McCartney, was included in the panel.)
Questions remain over how seriously fashion players will take sustainability after this crisis is over and whether any of the initiatives they have outlined in the past will be stalled or stopped altogether. Economic necessity may mean that some rowing back is inevitable, but analysts have also claimed that the post-Covid-19 consumer is more likely to have concerns like local production and reduced waste top of mind.
The lack of industry standards around disclosures and policy announcements presented a challenge when building out the ESG portion of the Vogue Business Index. The policies that were selected were based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and determined to be areas where brands should have some sort of public policy in place. These areas include carbon emissions, supply chain transparency and gender equality.
Credit: Vogue Business – Click here to view the article
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