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06 Sep

How Ethical Is Gucci?

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Gucci is one of the oldest luxury Italian brands in the world. So how ethical is Gucci? We’re happy to report the brand is making some commendable progress, especially when it comes to minimising its impact on the environment. Today, we delve into the brand’s “It’s a Start” rating. This article is based on the Gucci rating published in June 2023 and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.

On the right path

The logo, colours, and products are recognisable anywhere: two interlocking “Double-Gs”, red and green stripes, a monogrammed belt, timeless bags, and Instagrammable loafers. 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 and who stepped down in November of 2022 to be replaced by Sabato De Sarno.

We thought it was time to dive into Gucci’s practices and policies and ask: how is Gucci impacting people, the planet, 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 is on track to meet its target. It has a policy to protect biodiversity throughout its supply chain, uses low-waste cutting techniques to maximise fabric use, and it reduces chromium and other hazardous chemicals from its leather tanning processes.

Gucci also uses some lower-impact materials, like in its past circular line, Gucci Off The Grid. The brand says it “uses recycled, organic, bio-based, and sustainably sourced materials”. The brand’s genderless collections also included items made from ECONYL, organic cotton, recycled steel, and regenerated polyamide. While we would like to see Gucci include more lower-impact 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, Gucci’s previous middling “It’s a Start” rating has risen to “Good”. 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. The brand received an increased score of 51-60% in the 2022 Fashion Transparency Index, and it now has a comprehensive policy to support diversity and inclusion in its direct operations, though not in its supply chain. 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, and most notably, it now claims to have a program to improve wages, but so far there’s no solid evidence it ensures its workers are paid living wages in most of its supply chain.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is where Gucci is letting down the team, with its score dropping from “Not Good Enough” to our lowest possible score of “Very Poor” in its recent review. While it’s good to see a high end luxury brand taking solid action like banning fur and angora, as well as having a formal policy aligned with the Five Domains of animal welfare, Gucci still uses leather, wool, exotic animal skin, shearling, exotic animal hair, and silk. It also uses down certified by the Responsible Down Standard. And while it traces most animal-derived materials to the first production stage, its continued use of cruel exotic materials such as python and crocodile brings its score down. We couldn’t give Gucci’s animal section a rating higher than “Very Poor” 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 and improving practices for its workers. Its use of some lower-impact 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 should also use less (and less cruel) 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, more 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 one of the most sustainable ways 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.

Good swaps

Our favourite “Good” and “Great” alternatives to Gucci.

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 lower-impact 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.

Find most items in sizes 34-52.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

E.L.V. Denim

Rated: Good
Someone in upcycled denim jacket and jeans by ELV Denim.

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.

Sizes vary.

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.

The items are available in sizes 6-12.

See the rating.

Shop Edeline Lee.


Rated: Good

Danish 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, more sustainable production, and environmental impact are equally as vital as its aesthetics.

Find most items in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Aiayu.

Sans Beast

Rated: Good

Founded in 2018 with the sole purpose of delivering pieces that had beauty without the beast, Sans Beast is an Australian accessories brand creating luxury vegan bags and accessories entirely cruelty-free. They are particular about their sourcing, using materials like Global Recycled Standard certified materials, and innovative plant-based leathers made from cactus and apple.

See the rating.

Shop Sans Beast.


Rated: Good
Peach mashu mini tote

Mashu is a British more sustainable vegan accessories label specialising in handbags. Mashu’s environmental rating is "Good", crafting its exterior with vegan leather alternatives 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.

Parker Clay

Rated: Good
Someone unfolding a striped cotton towel on a beach, wearing a light leather backpack by Parker Clay.

A bag that saves lives? You got it. Parker Clay is an American based brand looking to create a future without exploitation by bettering lives and communities in Ethiopia. The brand has partnered with Ellilta Women at Risk program, fighting to bring women out of prostitution by providing a more stable income and safe working environment. Parker Clay also helps preserve traditional Ethiopian techniques, materials, and styles, ensuring that this fast growing country is able to remain close to its beautiful roots.

See the rating.

Shop Parker Clay.

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 more 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 thousands of rated brands.

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