SUSTAINABLE LUXURY – DOES IT EVEN MAKE SENSE?
What is Sustainable Luxury
Sustainable luxury is such a contradicting statement, most of us are stumped when we hear the words combined. The entire concept of sustainability and social consciousness merging with high-end products is an oxymoron, right?!
By definition a luxury is “an inessential, desirable item”: if it’s non-essential it could be argued that it is in no way sustainable, especially considering sustainability is all about conserving an ecological balance, by avoiding depletion of natural resources.
But after delving more into the topic, it is clear that businesses in general, especially luxury brands, are proving that their existence is critical in the movement to save our natural resources. It is a ”lesser of two evils” scenario: A luxury product with sustainable values might be the way to go, if we want those with purchasing power to buy from, where there is the least harm done to our planet.
To start discussing ethical luxury, let’s take a look at spas. The luxury market in which spas operate shares a special relationship with sustainability and environmentally friendly activities. People associate spas as a luxury amenity which they see as an infrequent occasion, because of this and because of spas adopting a much more sustainable future through the use of natural ingredients, the public may be convinced to adopt much more of a sustainable lifestyle similar to that of which spas exercise.
At Proverb, we have noticed the increasing problem the world faces and are committed to helping. We have been inspired by the work of so many companies and have decided that we can make a change too to have a positive environmental impact. Our refillable and eco-friendly deodorant reduces the consumption of single-use plastics whilst also supporting WaterAid in their work to provide clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene to those who need it most.
More than ever, businesses hold the key to changing the way we think about sustainability and those in the luxury sector have the customers that can afford to make better decisions for themselves and the planet, leading the way in systems and technology that other businesses and consumers can engage with.
Socially Conscious Brands
Many businesses have taken a clear stand on where their values lie. Take Soneva Resorts for instance, who offer intelligent luxury experiences to their guests, with sustainability and the environment at the forefront of every activity which they undertake. Soneva’s objective is not just to become much more sustainable in the host countries in which they operate, but also to create a much more sustainable world, which should inspire the rest of the world to do the same.
Soneva believes that businesses must exist for a greater purpose than shareholder returns. This attitude allows their company to allocate significant resources towards the Soneva foundation with meaningful projects that have positive social, economic and environmental impacts. Projects include the Myanmar stove project which provides up to 200,000 families with fuel-efficient stoves, reducing wood consumption and air pollution by up to 80% and also similar to the work we do with WaterAid. Soneva is taking large steps to set the standard in which all businesses and members of the public should follow.
Businesses, regardless of whether they were founded with ethical or luxury values in mind, have a huge role to play to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly world. And luxury brands in particular have the resources as a collective to make a real difference to tackle the issues and change the attitudes of the public to become much more environmentally aware.
Guiding Brands To Take Social Responsibility
We are lucky to be in a generation where people are starting to become aware of the issues with huge corporations, motivating them to start allocating more resources towards sustainability.
A study from Nielsen showed that 73% of millennials were willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable or socially conscious brand. This forces corporations to change their practices and adapt to more conscious models - brands follow the spending trends and are willing to adapt to please the buyer. Take Tiffany’s for example: the famous diamonds luxury brand was scrutinised over the way they explored resources in Africa, leading the business to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for purchasing diamonds from countries with human rights infringements and also has a philanthropic foundation.
We can set the standard to which others can follow, throughout our everyday purchases and our everyday business decisions. We have the capabilities to make much more of a significant positive impact on the planet.
As someone, the other day pointed out, who would have thought the founder of an online payment platform would end up consulting for NASA! But that is exactly what Elon Musk is now doing after having created the best electric cars in the world on the journey, which includes open-sourcing his tech to other automotive companies!
Just another reminder of what we can all achieve with the right attitude and the right motivation.