In a move that will only bring more attention to the issues of sustainability in fashion, Emma Watson has joined the luxury fashion giant Kering (the world’s second-biggest luxury group) as Chair of the Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors, reminding us all to never forget the power of the celebrity.
Before you knock her credentials you should note that Watson is also a supporter of mobile app Good On You, which allows customers to check the sustainability credentials of clothing brands and rating them from “Not good enough” or “It’s a start” while they shop (giving more power to the customer), as well as educating users on ethical fashion labels and offering exclusive deals from the best brands. “Good On You is my benchmark for sustainable fashion. This means that when I’m given a platform to speak about my choice of outfit, I will have a meaningful story to tell. And it’s powerful”, said the actress in a statement released on the app’s official website.
Her appointment comes alongside Tidjane Thiam as Chair of the Audit Committee, and Jean Liu, president of Beijing-based transportation company Didi Chuxing. Kering has expressed that the company will “benefit from their contribution in defining the Group’s strategic orientations”.
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Kering is proud to announce that Emma Watson is joining its Board of Directors, alongside Jean Liu and Tidjane Thiam. Their appointments have been approved by Kering’s shareholders during the Group’s Annual General Meeting, as proposed by the Board of Directors in March 2020. Emma Watson has also been appointed Chair of the Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors. The combined wealth of experience and skillsets of these three well-known figures will be complementary assets to the Group, enhancing the quality of the work done by the Board of Directors. The latter will benefit from their contribution in defining the Group’s strategic orientations. “I am delighted to welcome Jean Liu, Tidjane Thiam and Emma Watson to our Board of Directors. Their respective knowledge and competence, the multiplicity of their backgrounds and perspectives will be invaluable additions to the reflections of Kering’s Board of Directors. The collective intelligence that comes from the diversity of point of views and the richness brought by different experiences are crucial to the future of our organization, and I am proud to add such impressive talents to the team.” François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering. Click on the link in bio for more info. Photo by Carter Bowman @emmawatson
Thiam and Liu, who are Black and Chinese respectively, are the only people of colour on the 12-member board, which opens up the diversity of the Kering Group previously dominated by white and European members. Perhaps it was an internal reflection or the global Black Lives Matter movement that has caused many fashion houses to look inward for growth and take a bigger step in championing diversity.
Tidjane Thiam’s portfolio includes being appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse Group AG which has seen him develop projects and various programs that have successfully stimulated businesses and economies.
Liu’s appointment in particular comes as China continues to grow in the global luxury good market. It is reported that Chinese customers account for 90% of the global market growth for the year—Liu could be the one to steer the Kering ship into the company’s Asia Pacific region, which accounted for a third of groups revenue in 2019.
When reflecting on the the multiplicity of backgrounds of the new additions, Chairman and CEO of Kering, François-Henri Pinault said “the collective intelligence that comes from the diversity of point of views and the richness brought by different experiences are crucial to the future of our organization, and I am proud to add such impressive talents to the team.”
Watson, who is most known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film adaptations, has always championed sustainable designers, often wearing sustainable labels from top-tier designers for red carpet events and public appearances including that of fellow eco-fashion advocate Stella McCartney. Her advocacy for sustainability goes beyond superficiality though and she has her fair share of credentials to boot. In 2014, Watson was appointed a UN WOMEN Global Goodwill Ambassador and launched the HeForShe initiative aimed at the promotion of gender equality.
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Kering-owned Gucci has made conscious efforts this year to double down on sustainability and equality. Earlier this month, Gucci launched the Equilibrium platform and published the results of its yearly Environmental Profit and Loss report while detailing the company’s efforts to clean up its environmental impact and reduce its environmental footprint.
Like most industries, Kering has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the company’s revenue fall by 16.4% in the first quarter. This board of directors shake up could just be the ticket to getting Kering back on the right track.
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