In a broad conversation that covered the changing importance of sustainability in society, post-Covid opportunities, and advice to businesses starting their sustainability journey, our panel of experts set out how brands can prepare for the future in a time of rapid change. We have summarised the most important points below but if you would prefer to see the webinar in full, you can watch it here.
Sustainability is more important now than ever
Martin Townsend contextualised the world’s changing relationship with sustainability by viewing this cultural moment as the end of a 40-year macro-economic cycle. Started by Regan and Thatcher, this cycle has been defined by a contract with society that promised prosperity and jobs in exchange for light taxes and regulation. That cycle is coming to an end and that end has been accelerated by COVID-19 because it forced us to think about how to create a different and better relationship with society.
Younger generations are driving this change. When they buy products they do not see themselves as ‘just’ consumers, instead they are change agents that are shaping the businesses they buy from. They are more curious, informed, and vocal on social media than previous generations and this is forcing businesses to improve their relationship with the planet and find ways to prove their commitment to environmental and social issues.
A tailored certification is a useful one
When laying out the updated framework for The Butterfly Mark, Positive Luxury Managing Director Amy Nelson-Bennett went into detail on how one of our goals was to help companies put sustainability strategy right at the heart of their organisation. To achieve this goal, we tailored the certification assessment for each individual segment of the luxury industry we work with across fashion and accessories, jewellery and watches, beauty and fragrance, premium drinks, living, travel and hospitality, retail and culture and leisure.
This level of customisation in the assessment is what makes it truly ‘next generation’. Instead of treating all businesses as identical, we instead work to fully understand a company’s real impacts, customising the assessment framework to each company according to its activity or vertical, size in turnover and location of operations and supply chain. For a business looking to use Covid-19 as an opportunity to embrace chance and become more effective and efficient, The Butterfly Mark will allow them to do that in a way that works for them.
Advice for businesses starting their sustainability journey
Organizations at the beginning of their sustainability journey can feel confident after the advice from our webinar panel: the best way to become a sustainable business is just to start being one. George Sethia, the BSI’s Head of Consulting, went into more detail, suggesting that businesses start by establishing a clear and simple sustainability policy that sets out the organization’s ambition. The benefit of this is that once you have that goal you will know what you are driving towards and will be able to cascade the objective to every level of your business.
This has informed Positive Luxury’s approach to the upgraded certification framework. One of our objectives was to simplify the sustainability journey and to achieve this we built a framework that will be updated every six months. This means that whenever a business starts its sustainability journey with us it can be confident that it is working with relevant data that will allow it to set goals with that confidence that when they are achieved, the business will be at the absolute forefront of sustainability in luxury.