Luxury goods companies can encourage sustainable values with their counterintuitive business models and out-of-the-box thinking

Luxury brands rely on brand love. To appeal to customers who are used to the best, to arouse aspirational desire, to inspire creativity and passion among their designers and artisans, luxury brands must instil respect, pride, and devotion. Yet luxury brands have been slower than others to openly embrace sustainability and social responsibility. In part, this is a matter of complacency with their prior achievements. Luxury brands have a long history of treating rare materials with due care and respect for their preservation. Their artisans are no mere labourers, and luxury brands have always understood that appropriate working conditions are a prerequisite for producing the quality work they require.

Luxury brands also have a long history of philanthropy and support for the arts. So, when challenged on their practices, luxury brands can truthfully claim that they have been pursuing sustainability and social responsibility all along. But the world has also moved on. Promoting the arts is a limited view of luxury’s role in the world and what it represents to people. In the shift from “if” to “how,” luxury brands must not just be supporters, but proactive problem solvers. And they have to make the quantum leap from being responsible...

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Branding  corporate accountability  ethical branding  luxury brands 

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