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PARIS – French luxury brand Kering has removed a set of recently published guidelines on greenwashing from its website after it emerged they were in direct conflict with the ‘carbon neutral challenge’ of its flagship Gucci brand. The original guidelines appeared in Kering’s ‘Standards’ document under a section headed ‘Guidance for Sustainability Claims in the Kering Standards’. However, an updated version of this document has now appeared on Kering’s website with no reference to making sustainability claims.

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In the original document, it was stated that brands should avoid claims of carbon neutrality when making green claims. The logic in this was shifting thinking on the issue in the scientific community. For instance, The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) discourages the use of any “carbon neutrality” claims. Such claims, Kering states, “can be counterproductive and bring reputational and legal risks.”

The original guidelines advised that, “companies should indeed focus on drastic decarbonization efforts as a first order of priority, ahead of any actions to offset their emissions outside their value chains. It is critical not to let any such actions delay or replace reduction efforts.”

However, Kering in November 2019, Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri issued a letter to CEOs across all business sectors calling for a collective commitment to “address GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions immediately, not over decades.” Carbon offsetting – a practice which has become increasingly discredited in the past 18-months – was a central plank of this initiative and, to nobody’s great surprise, the fashion press gave the challenge huge positive coverage.

The challenge stated: “To join the challenge, companies must adopt an annual approach to first avoid and reduce GHG emissions and then, as a final measure, offset the total remaining emissions within their operations and across their entire supply chain.”

CEOs from Cartier, Sanpellegrino, Lavazza Group, SAP, The RealReal, Cartier and Levin Sources joined the CEO Carbon Neutral Challenge and CEOs have continued to join it as recently as this summer.

Kering has stonewalled all contact from Apparel Insider on this issue.

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