WWF-UK Gives Luxury Companies Poor Grades

WWF-UK Gives Luxury Companies Poor Grades

In its first analysis of the environmental and social records of luxury brands, the WWF-UK handed out mostly failing grades.

The WWF-UK's report, Deeper Luxury, graded the 10 largest publicly-traded brand-owners based on their self-reported performance and views by the media and non-governmental organizations. The report looked at the brands' actions and reputations related to environmental, social and governance issues.

L’Oreal tops the list with a C+, followed by Hermes and LVMH, each of which also earned a C+. Next is Coach with a C; Tiffany & Co. with a D+; Swatch, PPR and Richemont, all with D’s; and rounding out the list is Bulgari and Tods, each with an F. Some of the brands owned by the companies include Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Garnier and Louis Vuitton.

"This report is a call to action for the world’s top brands to improve the way they do business," said Anthony Kleanthous, senior policy adviser for WWF. "Luxury companies must do more to justify their value in an increasingly resource-constrained and unequal world."

The report says "the direct environmental impacts of luxury brands are significant" and suggests ways for luxury companies to green themselves. It recommends focusing on the social and environmental qualities of products, creating products that will last and offering return and repair facilities.

Along with environmental issues, the analysis touches on wildlife trade, human rights, corruption and labor rights.

In light of the low grades the top companies all received, the report points out efforts by some brands, mentioning that Louis Vuitton has five dedicated repair centers in Japan, stopped using plastic wrapping for customer deliveries and measures the amount of carbon its retail sector emits.

The report also includes a 10-point action plan for luxury brands, recommending, among other things, that companies audit and improve everything from office management to supply chain to advertising; take up sustainable business practices; and reward staff for meeting environmental and social goals.

Aside from the brands, the report also looks at celebrities and their relationships with brands. The WWF-UK includes a Star Charter, calling on celebrities to endorse environmentally- and social-friendly brands by looking at the companies’ practices and performance.