How Ethical Is Gucci? - Good On You
15 Sep

How Ethical Is Gucci?

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?

Environmental Impact

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!

Labour Conditions

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.

Animal Welfare

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.

See the rating.

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.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

A member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Stella McCartney has set some excellent environmental standards across the luxury fashion industry. Stella uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester and organic cotton, and has a strategy in place to reduce waste across its entire supply chain. It has also adopted the ETI Code of Conduct that includes a living wage definition!

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney @ Labell-D.

Shop Stella McCartney Kids Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

FH Christensen

Rated: Good
woman wearing orange FH Christensen jumpsuit

FH Christensen designs cocktail and evening wear that mixes exotic lavishness with elegant professionalism. The brand uses low-waste cutting techniques to minimise textile waste, and manufactures all products locally to reduce its carbon footprint. FH Christensen also traces most of its supply chain!

See the rating.

Shop FH Christensen.

E.L.V. Denim

Rated: Good

E.L.V. Denim transforms old discarded denim into modern, sophisticated, and even 'made to measure' jean jackets, pants, and accessories. Find most jeans in UK sizes 24-32.

See the rating.

Shop E.L.V. Denim @ Rêve en Vert.

Shop E.L.V. Denim.

One Vintage

Rated: Good

One Vintage transforms antique textiles and relics to create contemporary and modern new pieces, preserving the rich beading and embroidery once hand crafted.

See the rating.

Shop One Vintage.

Edeline Lee

Rated: Good

Edeline Lee is a London based brand that features ready-to-wear collections that are structured, feminine, and for the future lady. Her pieces are designed with a soul, made with quality and meaning, made to fit well to lift the best out of you.

See the rating.

Shop Edeline Lee.

Aiayu

Rated: Good

Danish sustainable luxury brand Aiayu offers building blocks to a conscious home and wardrobe, with an emphasis on quality and time enduring designs. Established in 2015, Aiayu products are created with care for the environment, its workers, and the wearer. The brand embodies its belief that the combination of a product’s origins, sustainable production, and environmental impact are equally as vital as its aesthetics.

See the rating.

Shop Aiayu @ Reve en Vert.

Shop Aiayu.

Mashu

Rated: Good
Peach mashu mini tote

Mashu is a British sustainable and vegan accessories label specialising in handbags. Mashu’s environmental rating is ‘Good,’ crafting its exterior with vegan leather and recycled polyester, while its interiors feature vegan suede made from recycled polyester, ensuring you never have to sacrifice your morals for style again!

See the rating.

Shop Mashu.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. We love to recommend some of the best sustainable brands, rated ‘Good’ or ‘Great’. We also encourage shopping pre-owned as another great way to reduce the impact of our fashion choices. Use our Directory to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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