LVMH Announces Major Water Use Reduction Target – WWD

PARIS — As France faces an unprecedented drought, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is adding a new component to its “Life 360” global environmental targets to tackle water use.

The group has vowed to reduce its overall water consumption footprint by 30 percent by 2030 across its global activities.

“Reducing water consumption has been an integral part of LVMH’s environmental strategy for the past 10 years. In response to growing pressure on this essential resource, the group has set targets for controlling consumption across its entire value chain: as a leader in the luxury goods industry, it is our responsibility to mobilize all stakeholders around the sustainable use of water,” LVMH environmental development director Hélène Valade told WWD.

While water use has been included in its strategy, the current situation has caused the company to take a fresh look. “Given the urgency of the water situation in France, but also in many regions of the world, LVMH is increasing its ambition,” the company said in a statement.

It comes on the heels of the company’s energy sobriety plan, unveiled last September, to reduce its energy use by 10 percent.

“Under the dual pressure of demographic change and the consequences of global warming, water is now a resource under stress. It is subject to restrictions on use and requires the adoption of specific action plans,” the company said, citing the targets announced by French president Emmanuel Macron on March 23.

Macron laid out a strategy for industrial sectors to reduce their water use, including a goal of recycling and reusing 10 percent of water by 2030.

LVMH’s aim is for 30 percent, and looks to some of its current successes in this area for inspiration.

The company will employ pressure indicators and geolocation data to deploy specific action plans in the areas suffering from water stress, use new technologies to reuse treated wastewater and recovering rainwater on the group’s production sites, and will continue to expand the group’s regenerative agriculture program launched in 2021, which improves soil quality and water retention, as some of the methods to reach the target.

In addition, the company will introduce more manufacturing processes that consume less water. LVMH has already introduced these types of systems at its Loro Piana brand. The luxury cashmere clothing and textile maker reduced its water consumption by 25 percent between 2019 and 2022, credited to deploying wastewater recycling equipment in its Italian factory.

Cognac brand Hennessy reduced the water consumption at its distilleries by 26 percent between 2019 and 2020 by altering its manufacturing processes.

Lessons from these cases will be applied across the wider group activities.

While water is most evidently critical to its cognac and Champagne labels, the company is also framing it as a business decision to future-proof many of its core segments, including accessories and beauty.

“Water is also essential to its perfumes and cosmetics, as well as to the raw materials for its fashion and leather goods, it is in fact a strategic resource that contributes directly to the high quality of the products developed by LVMH, and it is therefore its responsibility to act to preserve it,” the company added.

It is the first step in LVMH’s overall water strategy. The company will set qualitative standards for use reduction and discharge, to be validated by the Science Based Targets for Nature group, a coalition of NGOs that helps companies assess their impact on nature. Those are expected to be revealed later this year.

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