The Green Store & Building Challenge LVMH x Paris Good Fashion: Committing to Greener Retail #842


At a time of growing environmental awareness, fashion industry giant LVMH and Paris Good Fashion, the association of fashion professionals working for more responsible fashion, have joined forces to launch an innovative initiative: the Green Store & Building Challenge.

This ambitious collaboration aims to raise awareness and mobilize key stakeholders in the sector, from brand managers to store owners, towards a significant reduction in the ecological impact of the fashion retail industry. In an exclusive interview with Nicolas Martin, Sustainable Store Planning Manager at LVMH Group, FashionUnited explores the goals sought by this initiative in transitioning towards a more sustainable fashion industry.

LVMH and Paris Good Fashion’s Collaborative Guide for Stores

The idea of the Green Store & Building Challenge partly stems from the Stores Awards organized by LVMH every two years since 2016, Nicolas Martin tells us. After the success of these events, the Group proposed extending this approach to Paris Good Fashion’s network, giving rise to the Green Store & Building Challenge. Before its launch, LVMH and Paris Good Fashion together developed a comprehensive guide outlining key action points and various recommendations to help stores navigate towards sustainability. “We drew from our experience and internal framework of 60 sustainability criteria. To engage the greatest number of partners, we simplified it, in agreement with the third-party trust that accompanies us,” Nicolas Martin states.

An Overview of Sustainability in the Retail Sector by Nicolas Martin

When asked about the current state of sustainability in stores in France and worldwide, Nicolas Martin highlights the complexity of providing a comprehensive overview of this constantly evolving sector. However, he shares two positive aspects that fuel his optimism: the tightening of regulations, notably with initiatives such as RE2020 to improve the energy performance of buildings and the European Taxonomy, which designates a classification of economic activities having a favorable effect on the environment and aims to channel investments towards sustainable projects. He also notes the increasing awareness among younger generations regarding the importance of sustainability. “Sustainability is no longer a choice; it is an obligation. What changes is the speed at which these practices are adopted. And here, the human factor is important. That’s why ‘Store Challenges’ have their place in the arsenal of transformation tools,” he asserts.

Regarding the priority areas for improvement identified by LVMH for stores, three points stand out: turning off lights after 10 p.m., a practice adopted for over a year in their stores; closing doors, a cultural change aimed at reducing energy consumption; and measuring installed lighting power, emphasizing the importance of energy efficiency even in the use of technologies such as LED. However, despite these advancements, Nicolas Martin acknowledges that there is still much to be done to improve store sustainability. He underscores the need for a holistic approach and the involvement of all sector actors to truly transform the retail landscape towards greater sustainability.

LVMH: How Sustainable Stores Reduce Costs and Improve Customer Experience

In concrete terms, implementing the recommendations advocated by LVMH in different stores offers two tangible benefits. Firstly, it helps reduce the operating costs (Opex) of stores, which positively contributes to their profitability. Additionally, “a sustainable store provides a more pleasant working and shopping environment for our employees and customers, with better air and light quality, which promotes the success of the retail space,” Nicolas explains. Moreover, in terms of additional costs, they are generally minimal. Often, what is beneficial for the environment also proves to be profitable. For example, furniture reuse and a frugal approach in choosing materials or lighting help reduce costs. This “common-sense” approach, according to Nicolas, and efficiency are well illustrated by better-rated projects, which are also less energy-intensive. The only additional cost that the Sustainable Store Manager at LVMH deems acceptable is the extra time required for their teams and partners to be more attentive and meticulous in managing material and energy resources.

LVMH’s Internal KPIs: Popularizing Existing Standards and Labels

Is the goal for LVMH to label and certify such a prize? Nicolas indicates that there are already a significant number of labels worldwide, among which eight have been grouped together to form an internal standard at LVMH. The group has thus relied on standards such as LEED ID+C (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Interior Design and Construction), an American program for certifying green buildings used worldwide, and the Energy Performance Diagnosis (DPE), a French certificate that provides information on the energy and climate performance of a home or building.

“In fact, these labels and certifications are means. The real goal is change, action, continuous improvement. However, the more complex a standard is, the less we know what to do. There is often a lack of pedagogy with non-experts in construction. Whereas it’s possible.” LVMH is thus striving to make existing labels and standards accessible to a wide audience. “With the Paris Store Challenge, the aim is really to shed light on ‘only’ 12 simple KPIs, which easily improve the energy profile of your store and its indirect impact on biodiversity. I would be delighted if we could display them at the entrance of stores, just like we display a ‘nutriscore.’ All of this linked to our public guide, on a mini-website, explaining what these parameters mean. It’s all about education,” he specifies.

Going Beyond Green Contracts: Nuances of Sustainability in Fashion Boutiques

Asked about the potential extension of recommendations to other areas such as renewable energies and water management, Nicolas Martin highlighted an important nuance. Among the 12 highlighted criteria, none directly concern renewable energy in stores. Yet, this stems from a well-thought-out strategy: energy efficiency takes precedence over simply switching to “green” contracts for electricity. According to him, true sustainability lies in reducing consumption, a much more challenging task than simply changing energy suppliers. “You’re right, among the 12, there is no criterion concerning renewable energy in stores. Do you know why? Because we tend to forget that efficiency is just as important as switching to a ‘green’ contract for electricity. To be truly sustainable, you must above all reduce consumption, and that’s much more difficult than changing electricity contracts.” As for the impact of water in stores, it is deemed negligible and therefore not considered a priority area for improvement.

Regarding the next steps, Nicolas announces LVMH’s intention not to limit partnerships to the current seven strategic lessors. The Group aims to expand its collaborations in the field of eco-design, emphasizing the importance of collective advancement in this constantly evolving sector. With 10 participants this year in this challenge and 4 awards presented, Paris Good Fashion hopes to triple the number of participants in the 2024 edition.

Read more – Fashion United