Through innovation and knowledge sharing, and in its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, Kering espouses groundbreaking solutions and processes leading to the widespread adoption of sustainable practices.
Material Innovation Lab
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:
Black pigment obtained from the by-product of industrial production of spirulina algae. The pigment has a negative carbon footprint and is both resistant to UV-light exposure and safe. The extracted crude pigment is purified using a proprietary technology. It is then milled and formed into a dispersion with similar characteristic to carbon black.
South Gobi Cashmere
Traceable and sustainable cashmere coming from farms involved in a Kering project in South Gobi desert in Mongolia. Kering partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2014 to help breeders improve their breeding processes for goats.
100% Traceable Mohair
Traceable and sustainable mohair coming from selected farms in South Africa and compliant with Mohair South Africa Sustainable Guidelines. Kering published its Animal Welfare Standards in 2019, with the objective of ensuring the best conditions for the treatment of animals throughout the Group's supply chain and of developing practices throughout the sector.
A composite leather made from leather waste recovered from the tanning process, which is fused with textile materials without using toxic adhesives.
This new technology allows to dye fake fur without using water and with a reduced quantity of chemical products. Kering has launched several pilot projects with the objective of finding new ecological processes.
Fake fur made of Sorona, a polyester-like fiber that is partially bio-based. Kering has launched several pilot projects with the objective of finding new ecological processes.
Sustainability Innovation Lab
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.
The testimony of our expert Debora
Transitioning to a truly circular economy requires a complete rethink of the way we produce and use resources as well as the way we extend the life of products.
At Kering, our goal is to ensure sustainable and fully traceable sourcing of raw materials.
Improved and optimized production processes are the driving force behind Kering’s social and environmental agenda.
New business models
To secure its long-term prosperity, Kering is steadfastly working on disruptive innovations in order to transform traditional luxury models with a focus on digitalization, artificial intelligence (AI) and social innovation.