A New Frontier for Sustainable Style

Gucci and the Green Carpet Challenge Launch the World's First Zero Deforestation Leather Handbag Collection

03-04-2013 // Aislinn Maestas
The GUCCI GCC Jackie Bag

Livia Firth has joined with Gucci and the National Wildlife Federation to launch a world first: a beautifully crafted range of handbags made from Amazon leather which sets new standards in traceability and ecological certification. The Gucci for the Green Carpet Challenge Handbag Collection, made to the fashion house’s exacting quality standards, is the first to be made with leather from the Brazilian Amazon that is guaranteed to have caused zero-deforestation and is fully traceable from source to finished accessory.

The GCC, Gucci and the NWF have worked to create an exemplary supply chain that ensures all Brazilian cow hides for the line are legally produced from the Amazon region of Brazil and do not cause deforestation. Each Gucci for the Green Carpet Challenge bag carries a passport containing the precise history of the chain of supply, from the birth of the cow to the beautiful final product. The bags are made using leather from cattle ranches that have achieved Rainforest Alliance certification, covering environmental and social justice criteria as well as the ethical treatment of cattle. The range becomes the first ever leather line to achieve this.

"This is a breakthrough moment for sustainable style," says Livia. "Once again, our collaboration with Gucci spotlights this fashion house as a genuine leader. Working together to utilise on-the-ground research by the NWF means that we have created a chain of custody that brings real change to the fashion industry."

These are the first products to wear the Green Carpet Challenge Brand Mark, and their launch represents a critical point in our consumption of luxury. "I’ve long maintained that too many of us who love fashion are forced to consume pieces of uncertain provenance,’ says Livia. ‘When it came to leather that was potentially driving the destruction of one of our most critical ecosystems, the Amazon, we didn't see why luxury and fashion lovers needed take that chance. Together we’ve produced a range that marries ethics and glamour in the most authentic way. The GCC Brand Mark is a guarantor of those exacting sustainable standards."

The launch of the bags also represents a landmark for Gucci. "Today more than ever before customers want to be associated with brands that are thoughtful and responsible," says Frida Giannini, Gucci's Creative Director. Through our sustainability, humanitarian and philanthropic actions we would like Gucci to not just be synonymous with Made in Italy, but also made with integrity. This project with the Green Carpet Challenge was conceived to show how we can be pro-active on environmental issues, by raising awareness and demonstrating action on the subject of deforestation."

"This initiative is important as it shows that through a methodical and considered approach to sourcing through certified traceability, one can be responsible in producing goods," said Rossella Ravagli, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability at Gucci. "In this case, through traceability we are able to show that responsibly-produced leather can be sourced from Brazil for the first time, and therefore avoiding deforestation."

"When it comes to deforestation in the Amazon, buyers hold a lot of power to make change," said Nathalie Walker of the National Wildlife Federation, the NGO that has supported the creation of a traceable and transparent supply chain and has worked in depth on the ground to help change the working practices of cattle ranchers. "The pairing of our on-the-ground knowledge and research with the Green Carpet Challenge and Gucci is critical to prove the value of certification and persuade ranchers to take a different approach," continued Walker.

The latest scientific data shows that cattle-ranching in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for over three-quarters of forest clearing. Despite a reduction in deforestation in 2011 for Brazil, figures for August 2012 (the peak month for deforestation) were back up, revealing a 220 percent increase on last year. Meanwhile, a lower standard of Brazil’s Forest Code was approved in October 2012, giving permission to local landowners and farmers to cut into native rainforest. The Gucci for the Green Carpet Challenge Handbag Collection provides concrete, reliable assurance to buyers that they are not contributing to the destruction of the environment.

Gucci is also making a donation of 50,000 euros to the National Wildlife Federation, funding work to promote deforestation-free Brazilian leather. The bags will be available to buy at all Gucci flagship stores.

Related Resources
  • Stopping Deforestation
    Learn more about National Wildlife Federation's work to convince major private sector retail brands to avoid purchasing meat, leather and agricultural commodities that originate from recently cleared tropical rain forests and other carbon rich lands.
  • Green Carpet Challenge
    The Green Carpet Challenge is a dynamic project founded by Livia Firth and British journalist Lucy Siegle which pairs glamour and ethics to raise the profile of sustainable style at the world’s most high profile red carpet events and works deep in the supply chain to help the fashion industry reform.