The logo, colours, and products are recognisable anywhere: two interlocking “Double-Gs”, red and green stripes, a monogrammed belt, timeless bags, and Instagrammable loafers (and their hairy counterparts). Yes, today we’re having a look at one of the oldest luxury Italian brands in the world: Gucci.
Founded in 1921 in Florence, Italy, by Guccio Gucci (hence the “Double-G” monogram), the brand started as a leather goods manufacturer. Despite a tumultuous history, Gucci has slowly grown to be one of the most popular brands of the last decade. This success—and profitability—is partly due to its creative director, Alessandro Michele, who reinvented the Gucci identity after being appointed in 2015.
So, with the House of Gucci movie set to release in a few weeks, featuring the one and only Lady Gaga, we thought it was time to dive into Gucci’s practices and policies and ask: how is Gucci impacting the Planet, People, and Animals? How ethical is Gucci?
Let’s start with some encouraging news: Gucci’s environmental rating is ‘Good’! The brand has set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its operations and supply chain, AND it is on track to meet its target. It has a policy approved by CanopyStyle to prevent deforestation of ancient and endangered forests in its supply chain, and it reduces chromium and other hazardous chemicals from its leather tanning processes.
Gucci also uses some eco-friendly materials, like in its circular line, “Gucci Off The Grid“. The brand says it “uses recycled, organic, bio-based, and sustainably sourced materials”. This year and last year’s genderless collections also included items made from ECONYL, organic cotton, recycled steel, as well as regenerated polyamide. While we would like to see Gucci include more eco-friendly materials as standard, its science-based approach to managing the impact of outlying materials is a big plus. Way to go, Gucci!
Now, when it comes to labour, we rated Gucci ‘It’s A Start’. Gucci’s supply chain auditing program is certified by Social Accountability International – SA8000 (including all of the final stages of production), and the brand publishes some information about suppliers, supplier policies, audits, and remediation processes. It’s also good to see the Italian brand disclose policies to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19. However, Gucci does not publish its living wage information, which holds its score back for People.
Gucci is also no stranger to scandals and controversies: 2 years ago, the brand received backlash and had to remove a jumper from its line after the Internet started noticing the item resembled blackface.
Gucci is making some progress for animals, and it is good to see a high end luxury brand taking solid action like banning fur. But despite having a robust policy to ensure animal welfare in its supply chain and not using angora and fur, the brand still uses leather, down, exotic animal skin, and exotic animal hair, as well as wool (from non-mulesed sheep). While the brand is tracing a lot of animal products to source and working to minimise suffering, its use of exotic materials such as python and crocodile brings its score down. We couldn’t give Gucci’s Animals section a rating higher than ‘Not Good Enough’ for all these reasons.
Overall rating: It’s A Start
So, how ethical is Gucci? Overall, we gave the Kering-owned brand a rating of ‘It’s A Start’. Gucci is making some commendable progress, especially when it comes to minimising its impact on the environment. Its use of eco-friendly materials and efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions are good first steps. However, the Italian brand still has much to do regarding its impact on People and Animals: Gucci needs to ensure it pays workers a living wage, and it could also use less animal-derived materials.
Gucci truly is a modern and exciting brand, and we’re happy to see a luxury brand committed to creating positive change for the planet and its inhabitants.
If you’re a fashion-lover like us, are a fan of the Gucci aesthetic, AND you want to save the planet, then you’ll be happy to know we found some cool and sustainable alternatives to Gucci! Keep scrolling to discover these green, edgy, and sophisticated labels like Gucci.
Don’t forget you can also buy Gucci pre-owned! Buying second hand is often the most sustainable way to shop, and we love to recommend labels and designers you can buy pre-loved so you can keep clothes from landfill by giving them a second life. You can find amazing vintage Gucci items at Vestiaire Collective!
Sustainable alternatives to Gucci
Our favourite good swaps.