How has Chloé become a leader in fighting greenwashing within the fashion industry?

29.07.2022Alberto Bailin, Co-founder of LienzoPhoto by Zac Ong

Differentiating yourself in a saturated industry is not an easy job to do. To do so, companies sometimes have to take risks, anticipate future trends, and set commitments and goals that will help them to achieve their goals and become market leaders, even if this may involve a higher cost in the short term and directly affect traditional production methods.

This week, we are going to dig into Chloé’s purposeful transformation for sustainability. Chloé’s commitment to shift the brand towards a purpose-driven business model, embracing social and environmental sustainability, started in 2019 and was reinforced right after by the appointment of Gabriella Hearst as creative director. Gabriella has been awarded Leader of Change for the Environment and has been nominated by the Financial Times as one of the 25 most influential women of the year 2021.

Chloé’s decision came from the belief that companies need to reinvent themselves and take full responsibility and accountability for the impact they have on the planet and on all stakeholders. One of the main axes on which they based this new strategy was “women forward for a fairer future”. As we can see in the graph on the right, Chloé’s labor force is composed of 83% of women. Yet, these percentages alone do not tell us anything on the living and wage conditions of the brand’s employees. However, Chloé has also set a gender equality plan, ensuring that all of their employees benefit from fair wages and appropriate working conditions. On top of this, we find 69% of leadership positions are held by women. Furthermore, they established a Sustainability Board to track the progress of their plan with transparency.

Chloé’s 2021 sustainability report

The following chart summarizes Chloé’s sustainability vision. As we can see, the objectives are divided into 4 main blocks: people, sourcing, communities and planet.

Chloé’s 2021 sustainability report

Results show that the brand is performing at the desired levels on most of these objectives. However, as the brand's quality and CSR director Christoper Bocquet said at a conference on transparency at la Caserne that Lienzo had the opportunity to attend, “being transparent means communicating successes as well as areas where there is still work to be done.”

2021 was undoubtedly a special year for the brand as they became the first luxury brand to officially become B Corp Certified. This certification makes the environmental and social performance of a company as measurable as its economic results and that, to be maintained, requires adherence to very strict and specific standards as well as a policy of absolute transparency on its supply chain and on all the steps of its hierarchy. Apart from the B Corp Certification, during this year, Chloé made important progress on increasing the amount of lower impact materials they use in their collections. As Gabriella said: “whenever possible, I try to reuse existing materials and lower impact materials”. All in all, Chloé’s carbon footprint in 2021 decreased by 19% compared to 2019, the year in which they established their commitment towards a more sustainable fashion industry. By 2025, Chloé wants to reduce the impact the brand has on climate and biodiversity. The objective is to reach a 25% reduction on carbon emissions, global water usage and packaging and logistics wage. This is of particular interest today in view of the regulations that are currently on the table, which will enforce certain environmental targets for certain brands. Chloé, for its part, anticipates these obligations and decides to publish this information before it becomes mandatory. This allows the brand to differentiate itself as one of the market leaders, and even more importantly, that consumers directly associate the brand as a responsible brand.

In conclusion, we can affirm that Chloé is an example to follow in terms of sustainability. Even being one of the companies that publishes the most information and sets the strictest goals, Chloé makes it clear that the road to sustainability is not a matter of days, that change does not happen overnight and that there are still many areas for improvement. Furthermore, they promise to set tougher goals annually to challenge themselves and harness creativity, making very clear their dedication and determination for change and a better world.