Starting from raw materials and design, through to production optimisation and logistics, the Circular Hub will support the creation of circular luxury products of the future – products that maximise the use of recycled materials, durability, repairability, and recyclability.
The new Circular Hub aims to have an impact on the luxury apparel market in several significant ways. It will promote the creation of new local supply channels to unify the supply chain. Starting with the promotion of collaborative research on circular materials and ending with the innovation of the industrial facilities found in the surrounding areas.
The Hub will also support the growth of a “circular Made in Italy,” which will help minimise the environmental and social impacts of Italian manufacturing and raw material supply chains through economies of scale and purpose.
The centre, situated in Tuscany, will see the involvement of Kering’s facilities, starting with Gucci’s production facilities, its Italian raw material suppliers, and finished goods producers – comprising more than 700 direct suppliers and 3,500 sub-suppliers. The operations of the centre will expand to include Kering’s other brands and eventually become open to the entire sector.
Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability and institutional affairs officer at Kering, said: “The fashion industry needs to accelerate and launch serious actions to catalyse deep change, rethinking the way we produce and use resources as well. The creation of our Circular Hub represents a milestone that goes in this direction. I am extremely pleased that the hub will see the light in Italy, home of some the Group’s strongest and most renowned production hubs and know-how.”
With the assistance of technicians and product researchers for retail, leather products, footwear and accessories from Gucci’s industrial craftsmanship and experimentation centres in Scandi and Novara, the project will draw on the knowledge of the Kering Material Innovation Lab (MIL) in Milan, 2023. The Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa will be involved in a science-driven partnership with the Circular Hub. It will concentrate on industry research and the discovery of circular solutions, including operational and logistical models.
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An open and modular innovation system
The Circular Hub’s activities will focus on the following areas:
- Research and Development: The centre’s activities aim to improve product quality, durability, repairability and recyclability. It will optimise transformation processes and the use of raw materials, to minimise waste and pollution. This will lead to significant reductions of environmental impacts overall.
- Logistics: The Hub will support traceability by involving the manufacturing supply chain. It will also increase logistics efficiency for material leftovers, including distribution channels for recycling and reuse.
- Industrial partnerships: Collaborating with industrial partners to conceive, design and implement technological solutions and infrastructure. So that textiles and raw materials will be recovered and regenerated for reuse in manufacturing.
- Value sharing: Developing recovery, recycling and reuse processes that will be integrated into Gucci’s supply chain in the initial phase. Whereby, associated patents, techniques and know-how will then be made available to other companies. The objective is to involve an increasing number of suppliers and industrial partners in an open innovation context.
The Hub will enhance Kering’s and Gucci’s sustainability practices in line with ESG goals. They will be encouraging the use of fewer natural resources, minimising waste, and pollution, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while also generating employment opportunities and enhancing the well-being of each participating region.
An early assessment of the Hub’s effects on the ecosystem that supports Gucci’s leather goods, for instance, shows that it will be possible to cut back on up to 60% of the GHG emissions now involved with handling manufacturing waste.
Antonella Centra, executive vice president, general counsel, corporate affairs and sustainability at Gucci, said: “Circularity promotes a vision that involves the entire production cycle starting from raw materials: it presents a great challenge and an opportunity to make Made in Italy even stronger and more competitive.
“With the launch of the Circular Hub we will have the responsibility and above all the framework in place to create a pathway for the luxury industry of the future. By sharing the same objectives and pooling resources, know-how and synergies, the hub will enable the entire luxury supply chain and especially the small and medium-sized enterprises – the beating heart of our country’s industry – to play an active role, with the innovative spirit that makes Italian know-how unique in the world.”