Can luxury ever be sustainable?
Sustainability and luxury are commonly viewed as antithetical terms. Luxury goods were often viewed as excessive, consumptive, and therefore unsustainable. That, however, is false. If we examine the essence of luxury, we can see that sustainability is ingrained in its nature. How?
The preservation of biological and physical resources has always been a priority for luxury brands. Their small production volume exemplifies sustainability, carefully managed supply and demand, premium prices, a reluctance to outsource manufacturing, and preservation of traditional craftsmanship. Luxury brands value longevity, rarity, and style that never fades.
Luxury brands have a competitive advantage over mass-market or "fast-fashion" brands [quickly evolving trends; low-priced products rapidly launched on the market]. In contrast to their cheaper equivalents, which are fleeting and disposable, luxury goods are bought for their durability, reparability, bespoke services, and quality. We can conclude that luxury brands actually support sustainability, not undermine it. The question is, what are the actual measures brands are taking to achieve sustainability today?
In this post, Living Innovations highlights the leading brands we carry that practice sustainability throughout their supply chains. Brands like these are pioneers and demonstrate ways that they can be woven into luxury.
The Concept of Sustainability and Its Importance
The topic of sustainability should be important to all of us, not only to brands. It's high time we begin to find ways to mitigate our environmental impacts. As a result of global warming, shrinking ecological diversity, increased produced waste, limited supplies of water and food, and socioeconomic inequality, green movements, and ethical business practices have gained momentum.
Sustainability aims to meet current needs without compromising the needs of subsequent generations. Major manufacturers are under the spotlight. The push is on redefining business operations and goods to make them more sustainable. Luxury brands face a similar challenge, which is why sustainable luxury is gaining traction.
Sustainable luxury should play a much stronger role in helping to protect the environment, improve animal welfare, and reuse and recycle products to the greatest extent possible. In addition, it is important because customer expectations should shift significantly.
When communicating an ecologically responsible message, brands demonstrate their commitment to a cause and encourage their customers to make more conscious purchasing decisions. As such, brands can accomplish two good things at the same time.
How can a Luxury Brand Practice Sustainability?
In today's business landscape, luxury brands have changed their business models to become more environmentally and ethically responsible. Changing the system would provide them with alternative solutions to many of the challenges we face today.
Brands need to truly integrate sustainability and eco-friendly principles into their practices before they create a buzz. They have been actively announcing their efforts in the luxury industry in recent years, from sourcing eco-friendly materials and packaging to setting up sustainability agreements. Additionally, the brand instills diversification into its business culture and allows people to purchase luxuriously but sustainably.
Luxury brands may need to remake their business models around four essential values: economics, functionality, individuality, and social responsibility. It should emphasize the product, the process, and the people, making it epitomizing energy-efficient, holistic, closed-loop supply, design, manufacturing process, and waste disposal methods.
Today's luxury goods should fulfill all interpretations, replacing countless other temporal trends with products that optimize function, quality, and timeless design. It should be durable and functional, reducing the excessive production of products to fewer, better-designed options produced more efficiently. Sustainability also includes the following practices:
- A luxury brand can help local communities and add value to their customers through sustainable, natural materials, which are key sources of income for farming communities.
- An emphasis on skilled artisans and traditional craftsmanship; the brand is committed to ethical manufacture and the preservation of heritage and traditional know-how such as glassmaking, upholstery, leatherwork, weaving, and woodworking.
- It is essential to use alternative resources for their sustainability initiative. Recycling plastics, old textiles, and reclaimed wood are examples of innovative resources that lessen environmental impacts.
4.The meaning of luxury extends beyond creating and selling a beautifully crafted product; it is an experience. When the price of a product is high, it is met with thoughtfulness, bespoke services and a stellar customer experience such as customer assistance in selecting the right product or aftermarket services. By reducing returns and ensuring that each item is kept for an extended period of time, you can minimize footprint and excessive production
Our Brands Who Vowed to Reduce Environmental Impact
At Living Innovations, we're proud to carry luxury brands pioneering sustainable interior and furniture design. Our main objective is to shed light on how sustainable practices are applied.
It is Gaggenau's mission to stand for sustainability and responsible resource management.
Moreover, they emphasize the use of high-quality materials, which enhance the longevity of their products. The brand is striving to create long-lasting and timeless appliances in both terms of aesthetics and interface.
About sixty researchers and engineers are involved in the continuous development process. New advancements are continually being made to create more energy-efficient products. A leading manufacturer of home appliances in Europe, Gaggenau has developed carbon-neutral products on a global scale.
A new product initiative pledged by the brand in March 2021 is the use of Styropor® CcycledTM, a product from renewable raw materials that is suitable for packaging delicate electrical appliances. It preserves the packaging's superior properties, such as impact absorption and compressive strength, which are imperative for protecting complex home equipment. The use of alternative packaging allows the brand to close the plastic loop and contribute to its sustainability goals.
When it comes to environmental responsibility, this brand is among the leaders in the industry. Dedon fiber is unmatched in terms of strength, durability, weather resistance, and beautiful color, texture, and touch. 100% recyclable, this fiber is sustainably made, so it does not threaten groundwater or the ozone layer. This biodegradable material burns as cleanly as candle wax because it is non-toxic and biodegradable.
Furthermore, the firm produces no waste in its supply chain, including recycling aluminum shavings down to the smallest particles. Developing items of such high quality that they last for decades may be their most sustainable achievement.
Throughout its history, Lema has prioritized environmental concerns, dedicated to improving its practices through compliance with legislation that supports sustainable materials and processes. Many significant initiatives have been undertaken over the years, including a gradual transition from oil-based to water-based paints and a determined effort to reduce emissions.
The company's Alzate headquarters is partially powered by renewable energy, while the logistics sector completed in 2013 can generate power entirely by photovoltaic panels on the roof. Lema has been certified to BS OHSAS 18001, showing commitment to improving working conditions. In 2020, the brand achieved the international certification ISO 45001, emphasizing health and safety in the workplace.
Lema can produce FSC® certified goods, which indicate that the wood was acquired in a sustainable manner that adheres to demanding social, economic, and environmental standards. FSC® is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) whose members include ecological and human rights organizations, indigenous groups, wood corporations, scientists, and technicians who work to improve forest management worldwide.
4. Ro Collection
Quality, originality, and Made in Europe- the trinity of Ro's sustainable production. Founded in Denmark on a passion for quality, craftsmanship, and beauty, Ro Collection offers unique and stylish design collections. The company aims to make products made from natural materials that are well-made, durable, and high quality. As a result, Ro Collection items can be used indefinitely or recycled and repurposed.
Pure pigments are used for the glass, along with wood made from FSC-certified forests. All glazes meet European standards for food safety and environmental protection. They manufacture ceramics that are built to last and can be used in both ovens and dishwashers.
Local artisans and craftsmen handcraft each Ro's product. Due to its handcrafted and low-technology manufacturing process, our products come in various shapes and colors that convey a strong sense of authenticity.
The company's goal of manufacturing exclusively in Europe stems from its desire to keep production in the country. Similarly, the brand aims to obtain raw materials from local sources. Therefore, they no longer need to travel far to the workshops, and their products won't be transported via lengthy and environmentally damaging transport methods.
"Designed to last" is Minotti's guiding principle. Using natural and recycled fibers in the right proportions in each new fabric, the brand creates upholstery fabrics that offer not only the utmost in luxury but are also low maintenance, incredibly durable, and blend seamlessly with the form and shape of the furniture for which they are designed. Today, Minotti creates and develops most of its products so that they can be easily disassembled and recycled.
Recycled PE yarns are an important feature of the material that they use. Even though plastic waste yarn and post-consumer fabric can be reprocessed into yarn, the primary source of recyclable plastic used in the new yarn industry is actually water bottles. Water bottles and straws, which are single-use plastics, make up nearly half of the raw PE material source for recycling.
Recycling has a relatively low environmental impact, and the new yarn produced is the same as virgin PE yarns. It also reduces the amount of waste dumped into landfills, which is a very good choice for Minotti's upholstery fabrics, making up roughly 36% of the global PE recycling. Oeko-Tex and EU Eco-Label certifications ensure that textiles have a minimal environmental impact and do not harm the environment or people while in use.
In addition to collaborating with local weavers near their Meda factory, Minotti's designers coordinate closely with those who make textiles to ensure supply chain transparency. While Minotti makes every effort to ensure that the fabrics and leathers they use have the smallest possible impact, this is only one component of a company's overall sustainability strategy.
Business practices include utilizing 100 percent green electricity to power offices, reusing all showroom waste and packaging material, and encouraging health and wellness through cycle-to-work programs.
Over the past few years, significant progress has been made in removing heavy metals from the tanning process; nowadays, tanning processes are fully vegetable-based. Technological advances and closed-loop systems have also achieved a significant decrease in water consumption. Leather from Minotti is also exclusively sourced from hides raised on a German organic farm, where they are confident animal welfare and health are ensured.
Start Making Sustainable Home and Office Spaces
Is it possible to purchase furniture and decor that is both responsible and luxurious? The answer is yes. The new meaning of luxury embodies mindful consumption, responsible production, and sustainability. Over the past few years, consumers have shifted their perceptions of the environment and favored sustainable products and practices.Conscious consumers regard brands they buy to express their ideals and identity, so they are demanding brands to be responsible for their products' environmental impacts. Most furniture shoppers, particularly millennials, prefer durable, high-quality, yet stylish items. With luxury brands taking the steps toward sustainability, there remains hope for the future. Support for change starts at home. Make your spaces more sustainable. Explore your different options here.