Prada Seeks Sustainable Future by Using Recycled Nylon and Finding Alternatives to Leather

Published on: 01 July 2022
by KnowESG
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Prada, the Italian luxury fashion house, is intensifying its sustainability efforts by attempting to reduce its carbon footprint, increasing its usage of recycled nylon, and looking for alternatives to leather.

Bloomberg's compilation of ESG rankings for the fiscal year 2020 revealed that Prada fared lower than its competitors on environmental issues and governance. The company has been making progress since then.

Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada’s head of corporate social responsibility, referring to a non-profit group that measures the environmental impact of companies "We are B minus for CDP at the moment and we want to become an A as soon as possible. We expect to improve our score already this year.”

Mr Bertelli, 34, is next in line to become chief executive. He is the son of Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada, who developed the Milan-based company into one of the most recognisable fashion brands in the world.

In 2021, he joined Prada's board of directors. He is also a member of a committee concerned with environmental and social sustainability issues at the board level.

In recent years, Prada has taken steps to enhance its sustainability credentials. As part of its carbon-neutrality initiative, Prada said in November 2021 that it would utilise more low-impact materials in its products and packaging and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

While sustainability scores are "essential" for judging corporate greenness, they may not represent the intricacies of unique business models, Mr Bertelli said at a Prada and Unesco-sponsored symposium on sustainability and ocean preservation in Lisbon.

This applies to the evaluation of contemporary slavery in the Prada supply chain, he stated.

“We produce almost all our products in Italy, compared to big companies of the fast fashion which produce abroad,” Mr Bertelli said.

“Already the fact that you produce in Italy should be counted for sustainable impact.”

In 2019, Prada provided the first sustainability-linked loan in the luxury business, an instrument with a lower interest rate if specified sustainability goals are accomplished, saving the issuer money.

Credit Agricole arranged the €50 million ($52.1 million) loan for Prada. In 2020, it arranged a similar €75 million loan with the Japanese bank Mizuho. Both loans were contingent on greener, more energy-efficient businesses, employee training, and the usage of regenerated nylon.

A third loan was agreed upon in February 2021 with UniCredit, raised €90 million and was tied to the regeneration and reconversion of industrial waste as well as the increase of Prada's self-produced energy share.

“We are progressing positively towards each of the targets,” Mr Bertelli said. “At the moment, the group doesn’t need more loans, as we have a positive cash flow.”

Mr Bertelli was in Lisbon to promote Sea Beyond, a programme designed to educate secondary school students about ocean preservation.

The project is sponsored by revenue from Prada Re-Nylon, a three-year-old series of bags for men and women. The products are created with recycled nylon yarn from plastic waste collected from landfills and oceans. Since the end of 2021, Prada has replaced all virgin nylon production with regenerated nylon.

Prada claims that its experts are attempting to develop further eco-friendly materials, particularly as a younger generation of consumers demands more sustainable products.

Source: Bloomberg

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