PARIS (REUTERS) – Environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s discourse on climate change was overly pessimistic and demoralising for young people, LVMH boss Bernard Arnault said on Wednesday (Sept 25), as the group behind brands like Louis Vuitton raised its “green” goals.
LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods conglomerate, which like its peers is seeking to improve its environmental credentials and keep young consumers onside, said it was further cutting emissions and improving sourcing on materials like animal fur.
But the group’s billionaire owner Arnault said he rejected what he called Thunberg’s doom-mongering.
The 16-year-old Swedish campaigner berated world leaders and business executives at a United Nations climate summit in New York this week for failing to act more decisively on climate change, saying they had “stolen her dreams”.
Her vision “has a demoralising side to it for young people. She’s not proposing anyway, aside from criticism”, Mr Arnault, 70, told journalists.
“I prefer positive solutions that allow us to get towards a more optimistic position.”
Fashion and textile groups are under pressure to reduce industry waste, including unsold clothing, and improve manufacturing methods.
Luxury companies turn out pricey products that are not mass produced, but they also face questions on everything from animal welfare to carbon emissions involved in exporting their wares around the world.
Many LVMH fashion brands, which include Fendi, Christian Dior and Givenchy, make accessories such as handbags from exotic skins like python or crocodile.
The group said it was bringing in a charter to ensure full traceability for all its raw materials by 2025, which would allow it to track them back to precise farms in the case of farmed fur.
Some rivals have dropped fur, including France’s Chanel, Britain’s Burberry and Kering’s Gucci.