In 2013, the Group created the Material Innovation Lab (MIL), which is dedicated to the sourcing of sustainable materials and fabrics. Located in Milan, the MIL is both a library of sustainable fabrics, enabling the design teams of Kering brands to better understand sustainable materials, and a driver of change within a very complex supply chain. The MIL pays particular attention to cotton, silk, cashmere, viscose and polyester. In doing so, the MIL provides the Group’s Houses and key suppliers with resources, tools and new solutions to help them understand how to make more sustainable choices in their products’ development.
Its database uses unique referencing for suppliers and their fabrics. Kering’s Houses have access to more than 3,800 samples of certified organic fabrics and fibers including alternative leather and sustainable fabrics as well as natural, cellulosic and synthetic fibers. Fabrics are subject to an in-depth review and are assessed in light of both external standards and certification, and a tool exclusive to the MIL developed in line with the EP&L methodology.
The MIL works closely with suppliers in an endeavor to further align their practices with the Kering Standards. In this respect, the focus of their work extends throughout the supply chain, from raw material sourcing to production processes, farming and spinning through to weaving and sustainable dyeing. The MIL has teamed up with industry-leading start-ups to test multiple innovations. These include dyeing and finishing solutions as well as new fibers created from biotech and agricultural waste.
In addition to its efforts to archive materials and solutions, the MIL has developed a rating system that defines sustainability within the scope of the Kering Standards. The Lab is also conducting an industry-wide audit. The team is now focused on supporting suppliers in obtaining the adequate environmental certification. As such, they are driving change across the entire industry.
Here is an overview of the sample types referenced in the MIL library:
In early 2020, Kering launched the Sustainability Innovation Lab platform for Watches and Jewelry (SIL), created for the Watches and Jewelry Houses. The SIL, which is based at the Group’s watchmaking sites in Switzerland, focuses on materials used by the Jewelry and Watches brands such as precious stones and gold.