Sustainability is the New Black: Consumers Expect Ethical Transparency

20/01/2017 14:45

"As consumer expectations lean increasingly toward transparency, a brand’s dedication to sustainable business practices is more important than ever before," write Jen King for Luxury Daily in her report on the “Sustainability is the New Black: Consumers Expect Ethical Transparency” session at Luxury FirstLook: Time for Luxury 2.0 on Jan. 18. She writes, "Panelists from the jewelry, spirits and hospitality sectors discussed how their businesses approach corporate social responsibility. Even at the most subtle level, these sustainable business practices are necessary in capturing consumer market share as the concept has gone mainstream."

According to Diana Verde Nieto, cofounder of Positive Luxury: "Although the concept has gone through green, eco, ethical, transparent, sustainable and so on, today it is reality that a brand that does not invest in corporate social responsibility is a brand that probably will not survive the next 100 years. This is becoming fundamental for what brands do," she said. "What’s happening today, this feeling of incredible disappointment is an opportunity for brands. "The brand you buy represents who you are and your values. This is becoming part of the day-to-day of every young consumer, and in fact, everyone. What unites us all is that transparency and trust is the one thing that drives the leadership of these companies." Positive Luxury teamed up with Forevermark to produce a full report, "2017 Predictions for the Luxury Industry: Adapt to Succeed".

De Beers’ Forevermark, which partnered with Positive Luxury to produce the report, puts a premium on sustainability and transparency. In the foreword to the 'Adapt to Succeed' report, Costantino Papadimitriou, Senior Vice President, Brand Strategy and Innovation at Forevermark, writes: "In the diamond market, which is home to Forevermark, attitudes towards consumption are changing. Whilst the generation – the millennials - still value deeper relationships and the traditions of marriage, with diamonds as a symbol of their belief in love and forever, consumers are increasingly self-purchasing diamond jewellery to celebrate personal milestones and to express their own individuality. Globally, another trend is clear; consumers care more than ever about the story behind their diamond. They are looking for a guarantee of superb quality, expert craftsmanship and a sense of responsibility from the brand. At Forevermark we are intensely aware of this, making long-term investments in communities around our mines through educational, medical, conservation and social initiatives."

"Luxury is no longer just about exquisite materials, perfect production quality and superb creativity," he adds. "Luxury is the reassurance that the brand behaves consciously, lives up to its values, and offers a deeper and more meaningful experience for consumers." as Jen King concludes, "Through Forevermark, consumers can trace the lifecycle of their diamonds from mine to finished engagement ring, for instance. This has helped De Beers to instill trust among its consumers that none of its diamonds are unethically mined nor are they Blood Diamonds. De Beers and Forevermark’s sustainable practices also extend to wildlife, particularly rhinos, and environmental conservation."