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No excuses: Luxury lags behind on ethics

So the World Wildlife Fund has slammed luxury goods retailers for a lack of commitment to ethical policies in the same week that luxury guru Tom Ford told an international conference that it was time for the sector to radically rethink its policies.

Speaking at the International Herald Tribune Supreme Luxury conference in Moscow, Ford said: “Luxury is not going out of style. It needs to change its style. We need to replace hollow with deep."

Similarly LVMH boss Bernard Arnault said that the luxury sector was set for explosive growth over the next five years, but warned that designer brands needed to take into account that young Western consumers were placing more emphasis on “ethical luxury” - goods which badge their owners as people who are environmentally or socially aware.

While in design terms these luxury brands lead the way, they are lagging well behind our high street and even the supermarkets when it comes to introducing organic and fair trade ranges and addressing issues across supply chains.

As the proportion of ethically-minded shoppers grows, will they desert Bond Street and head to Tesco instead? No, I can’t see it either, but the question is whether signing up Sienna Miller for your campaign and whacking on a £500 price tag is going to be enough to seduce these shoppers for much longer.

The luxury brand that beats its rivals to market with green goods will undoubtedly score consumer goodwill and winning sales.

Readers' comments (1)

  • You've hit the nail on the head when you state 'The luxury brand that beats its rivals to market with green goods will undoubtedly score consumer goodwill and winning sales'.

    Only 2% see themselves as ‘indulgent shoppers’ (The Future Laboratory) and the uptake on organic, fairtrade and goods across the eco-friendly / ethical sphere are in ever greater demand. The luxury goods industry may be slow off the mark, but if luxury brands want to retain their position they will need to turn things around very quickly.

    Hopefully the WWF's 'Deeper Luxury' report and leadership from the likes of Tom Ford will inspire luuxry brands to apply ethical policies across their businesses.

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