Guilt-edged: can luxury brands go green?

The decadent world of luxury doesn't seem to have much in common with the green movement. However, this paper argues that many longstanding values of luxury brands, such as provenance and sustainability, have become increasingly important factors for a wide range of consumers.

Guilt-edged: can luxury brands go green?

Boyd Farrow

When LVMH, the global luxury goods group, created its Environmental Affairs Department in 1992, Al Gore had just embarked on his first conservation treatise. Back then, Louis Vuitton’s corporate recycled rainwater drums were considered the antithesis of luxury glamour. But in recent years values such as provenance, artisanal techniques and sustainable production - traditionally staples of luxury brand advertising campaigns - have become increasingly important factors for a wide range of consumers.

To sceptics, the world of luxury, with its conspicuous consumption, faddishness and...

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