In 2018, Les Galeries Lafayette unveiled the first phase of their reflection on more responsible fashion. In 2020, the French department store is deepening its approach and unveiling its commitments for the years to follow. Explanations.
Some find it futile when others use it as a means of expression. But fashion is above all an economy, one of the most profitable on the planet, moreover. In 2020, the specialist in market analysis and foresight Kantar estimates it at more than $ 300 billion. Unfortunately, it is also the second most polluting industry of our time. On its own, it generates more than 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases each year, according to an Ellen MacArthur Foundation report published in 2017. At this rate, it could represent more than a quarter of l carbon footprint by 2050. Faced with this observation and awareness of the ecological issue of society, ready-to-wear brands are beginning to take up the issue.
An offer more respectful of the environment
This is the case of Galeries Lafayette which, in 2018, launched the Go for Good label, which lists clothes, accessories, jewelry or even beauty products that meet a number of defined ecological criteria. Among these criteria, the obligation to produce 50% of the labeled product in responsible materials. Two years later, the Parisian department store has 10% of its offer labeled Go for Good. The goal within four years? Passed to 25%. “At the time, when we talked about ecology with brands, the subject could still surprise, explains Damien Pellé, director of sustainable development and CSR of the group. Today, there is an anthology of small brands that put eco-responsibility at the heart of their proposition and the big names in fashion have almost all implemented a sustainable strategy. This is something that will help us achieve this objective, but we know that we will also have to make important purchasing choices. Regarding the brands that we include in our catalog, our buyers are now instructed to favor 100% eco-responsible brands or completely sustainable collections. Once in store, they benefit from greater visibility thanks to the distinctive Go for Good label and customers receive more loyalty points when they buy a labeled item.
Another stated objective: that the entire Galeries Lafayette own brand meet the Go for Good criteria, still by 2024. At present, 40% of the brand is labeled. “Before demanding things from brands, it was important for us to sweep at our door, admits Damien Pellé. With the Galeries Lafayette brand, we work a lot with recycled and organic materials, and we are experimenting with vegetable tanning to replace leather. ”
A transition accelerated by Covid-19?
Since the collapse of Rana Plaza, a textile manufacturing factory located in Bangladesh, on April 24, 2013, the world has realized that affording low-cost clothing comes at a cost. Whether social or environmental, the impact of fast fashion clothing on the world is undeniable. And if the group displays noble ambitions, it nevertheless continues to host some of these claws. Couldn’t this speech therefore be considered greenwashing? “The characteristic of a department store is to sell brands with completely different horizons,” defends the director of sustainable development. The question of refusing to work with certain brands will probably come up later. But we do not lose sight of our long-term objective: to present a 100% responsible offer. ”
Is the goal achievable? “In two years, the ecological question has taken on enormous importance in society, analyzes Damien Pellé. Before, we didn’t talk much about it to customers. Today, not only do we know that we can communicate about it, but consumers are in demand for responsible products. I have the impression that there has really been a turning point since the confinement. People are starting to seriously wonder about the future of the planet, about the daily life that we could have in a few years. On the brand side, Covid-19 has plunged the industry into crisis. And a sector that is going through a crisis is also looking for ways to reinvent itself. If we want to make progress on the issue, it is now or never. Like the Rana Plaza in its day, a new tragedy therefore seems to participate in the evolution of mentalities.