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LVMH sets ambitious water reduction targets for 2030

As part of its Life 360 program, the French multinational holding company LVMH has set new and ambitious targets to reduce its global water usage by 30 percent before the end of the decade.

Despite the fact that over 70 percent of our planet is covered in water, only three percent of it is fresh water.

The situation seems disastrous enough from the start, but in a world experiencing rapid climate change and a growing population, water has now become one of humanity’s most precious resources.

To cope with this issue, the French government placed tight restrictions on water use earlier this year. Its action plan included prohibiting citizens from watering their lawns and refilling their swimming pools. It even prohibited farmers from irrigating their crops.

Given that the French capital is home to some of the world’s largest fashion houses, these new limits on water use are sure to shake things up. According to data collected by the UN and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the global textile industry uses 93 billion cubic metres of water annually – the equivalent of 37 million Olympic-sized pools.

So it should come as no surprise that France-based LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey) has stepped up to the plate. The multinational company has announced a new strategy for ‘water conservation on a global scale,’ which is set to be applied across its entire value chain.

Its plan is to reduce its overall water use by 30 percent by 2030 and is an extension of its environmental programme called Life 360, which was launched in 2021.

Map Of Brands In Luxury Fashion: LVMH (OTCMKTS:LVMUY) | Seeking Alpha


What does LVMH’s current water use look like?

Water plays an immense role in LVMH’s activities, in particular in the creation of its wines and spirits, as well as perfumes and cosmetics.

But LVMH is also the parent company for many luxury fashion brands (Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, to name a few) whose collections incorporate the use of leather materials. LVMH’s water use in this area is very high, considering the current market for leather goods requires the use of around 400 billion litres of water each year.

Looking at the specific figures laid out by Global Data, LVMH consumed 4.41 million cubic meters of water in 2021. It’s still an unthinkable amount, however, the figure does indicate a drop from previous years, where water use stood above 5 million cubic meters.

Global Data noted in its report that at least 43 percent of LVMH’s water usage took place during its fashion and leather production.

Assuming that these statements are not attempts at greenwashing, LVMH has announced that its leather goods sector, Loro Piana, has recently reduced its water consumption by 25 percent thanks to the deployment of wastewater recycling equipment in its primary factory.

Little updated data for the last year is available, so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

How will LVMH reduce water use further?

Of course, the multinational company will need to obtain and deploy updated technologies if it wants to successfully meet its 30×30 reduction targets.

In its announcement, LVMH outlines its plan to adopt new technologies that allow it to reuse treated wastewater and recover rainwater. This will enable its primary production sites to recycle the water it has while obtaining a new source of water without relying on groundwater needed by surrounding communities.

It has also pledged to introduce similar technologies that rely on less water in its distilleries and workshops while continuing its regenerative agriculture programme, which was first launched in 2021 to improve soil quality as well as its capacity to capture and retain water.

Sound pretty good right?

Well, anyone who feels sceptical when looking at LVMH’s target has a right to be suspicious. We’ve all become highly aware of the greenwashing claims spewed to us my major conglomerates – and the fashion industry is one of the biggest offenders.

However, it’s worth keeping an eye out to see whether these nice promises come to fruition – and whether they are adopted by other companies in the future.