(Alliance News) - With the same care with which workers work his luxurious cashmere, Brunello Cucinelli continues to weave the web of a new "contemporary capitalism," one that rests on an expanded concept of sustainability.
He spoke about this in London at the meeting "The future of fashion: Italians at the forefront of sustainable fashion" organized at the Italian Embassy headquarters. Also with him was Federico Marchetti, founder of Yoox-Net-a-Porter Group, board member of Giorgio Armani Spa and chairman of the task force dedicated to fashion and an integral part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, founded by then Prince Charles, now King Charles III.
A collaboration, the one born between the two visionary Italian entrepreneurs and the sovereign, that continues to bear fruit. Recently, in fact, Marchetti involved Giorgio Armani in the production of sustainable cotton in Puglia, in a project called Apulia Regenerative Cotton.
With Cucinelli, on the other hand, Marchetti is running the Himalaya Regenerative Fashion Living Lab project. A few months ago, the first five kilograms of very fine cashmere produced in the area arrived from the Himalayas, where, with financial support from the Umbrian company, trees were planted, more than 4,000 people were given jobs and harmony with the land was restored. "The cashmere is of excellent quality," Marchetti pointed out, "which means the project is scalable.
The third project is the digital garment passport, aimed at indicating to the end consumer the origin and sustainability standards used to produce it. This is an essential step to help customers make ethical choices when buying, and one that the EU has been working on, in parallel, for some time.
"We have not yet been involved by Brussels in the project," Marchetti, one of the first to work on this issue, tells Alliance News, "but it will happen. Regulators have a different approach, they have to pass laws within a certain deadline, we do the opposite. We start now and then fix as we go, but at some point these paths will meet."
And one of the fiercest enemies of sustainability is so-called fast-fashion: "We have so many businesses set up in different ways," Cucinelli commented, "but the worldwide awareness has happened, and together we can change things.
The company he founded, Brunello Cucinelli Spa, reported first-quarter 2023 sales up 35 percent from the same period a year earlier, with net revenues at EUR265.3 million from EUR196.9 million.
Sustainability, for Cucinelli, is also cultural, as well as moral and economic: "What does the company do to grow the culture of its land," the entrepreneur asks, "and to improve the lives of the working people?
"We need wise hands. Who is willing to work for EUR1,200 in our factories? - Cucinelli asked - We would like certain jobs to be done by other people's children. With 1 percent profit you can totally change the life of the worker. This is economic sustainability. Hoteliers can't find staff. Why not raise wages instead of bearing the cost of a million-dollar dinner in New York? This too is sustainability, human sustainability. We need to balance profits, we all work for a profit but there is a right one and a wrong one."
During the meeting, he also confirmed that he had no intention of taking advantage of common ploys, such as moving the headquarters to more tax-friendly places: "I would like to move the company to Luxembourg, someone once told me. I invited him to come to our headquarters, quite a journey of several hours by car. When he arrived, I asked him: does this company look like it has wheels? And he left. How does my beautiful Italy grow if I don't support it with my taxes? I am happy to be Italian," he concluded.
By Chiara Bruschi, Alliance News reporter
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