LVMH and UNESCO join forces again to safeguard biodiversity
© Gabriel de La Chapelle
As experts continue to report alarming projections for the global environment, UNESCO and LVMH are spotlighting their shared commitments to protecting biodiversity within the scope of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) program. During the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille from September 3-11, UNESCO, the LVMH group and its Maisons jointly host a pavilion to present their convictions and concrete actions to protect biodiversity.
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, and Antoine Arnault, LVMH Image and Environment, discuss their commitments during two key events on the Congress agenda, the opening ceremony and the CEO Summit, respectively.
Last June, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a call for concerted action to address two major crises – climate change and loss of biodiversity – both of which are caused by human activities. Recognizing the seriousness of this situation, UNESCO and LVMH have been working together since 2019 within the framework of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) intergovernmental program, which aims to safeguard and sustainably improve biodiversity across the planet.
LVMH is the only private sector partner of this scientific program, which offers an innovative framework for international cooperation and, beyond the preservation of protected zones, aims to establish best practices for sustainable development to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
This aligns UNESCO’s goal of enabling humans to live in harmony with nature, with LVMH’s aim to conceive a new vision of luxury anchored in an alliance between nature and creativity. This ambition takes concrete form via a host of initiatives, including a joint five-year project with five million euros in funding to fight deforestation in Amazon, which constitutes a major threat to ecosystems throughout the region.
LVMH is also working on the rollout between now and 2030 of regenerative agriculture programs for strategic agricultural raw materials including grapes, cotton, wool and leather. In addition, the Group is contributing to collective efforts to regenerate ecosystems and protect endangered animal and plant species.
Giving back resources borrowed from nature is a fundamental priority for LVMH, which has made commitments to mitigate the environmental impact of its activities. Among other actions, the Group is supporting the rehabilitation of five million hectares of wildlife habitat around the world.
To clearly define its priorities, objectives and goals, LVMH has established forward-thinking tools to precisely measure its biodiversity footprint, including the Global Biodiversity Score (GBS). To continually improve its practices, LVMH also works with partners such as AgroParisTech and the WWF, and articulates initiatives within the Science Based Target for Nature framework.
These initiatives are pursued as part of the LIFE 360 (LVMH Initiatives for the Environment) program, which structures the Group’s biodiversity strategy around four priorities:
- Establish clear and precise measurement of the Group’s biodiversity footprint.
- Avoid and reduce impact on ecosystems.
- Commit to animal welfare.
- Regenerate ecosystems.
LIFE 360 provides LVMH with an essential environmental compass, setting targets with precise horizons (2023, 2026 and 2030) in order to forge a new alliance between nature and creativity. This means products in harmony with nature that respect and preserve biodiversity and the climate, and which are appealing and inspiring for all stakeholders.
“We must create a new relationship with nature. UNESCO’s partnership with LVMH aims to demonstrate that it is possible to reconcile economic development with biodiversity conservation, starting right now,” comments Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.
“Protecting natural ecosystems has always been an essential priority for LVMH, whose activities depend largely on natural raw materials, from flowers, grapes and cotton to leather and precious gemstones. The environmental policy first articulated by LVMH 27 years ago reflects this priority. The ‘ACT for Biodiversity’ partnership with UNESCO is a pillar that allows us to challenge the status quo and have a positive, long-term impact beyond our own supply chain to show that it is indeed possible to reconcile economic development and protecting nature,” says Antoine Arnault, LVMH Image and Environment.
UNESCO x LVMH JOINT PAVILION
The different pavilion’s spaces – built around the theme “ACT”, for “All Committed To” – recount how UNESCO and LVMH are working together for biodiversity:
- “ACT Together” presents the partnership between LVMH and UNESCO initiated in 2019 as part of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) intergovernmental program.
- “ACT for Conservation” details work done by UNESCO and LVMH to facilitate deployment of innovative solutions to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.
- “ACT for Sustainable Use” shows how, in the face of an unprecedented decrease in biodiversity, UNESCO and LVMH are taking concrete actions to ensure sustainable practices and balance conservation of biodiversity with sustainable use of resources.
- “ACT for Innovation” details how UNESCO and LVMH are conceiving new sustainable tools and resources to strengthen solidarity and the ability of people to recognize, understand and respect signs sent by the other species that live with us on Earth.
“WITHER” INSTALLATION BY ARTIST THIJS BIERSTEKER
In conjunction with the Congress, LVMH is supporting the Biocenosis21 exhibition organized by the Art of Change 21 association (curated by Alice Audouin). The Group is funding and hosting a special edition of the work “Wither” by artist Thijs Biersteker at the UNESCO x LVMH joint pavilion.
The Dutch artist’s creation bridges ecology and technology with an animated sculpture inspired by deforestation data gathered in partnership with UNESCO in order to heighten awareness of event attendees and visitors.
UNESCO AND LVMH SPEAKERS
- Antoine Arnault (LVMH Image and Environment,) at the CEO Summit, Friday, September 3, 1 pm to 2:30 pm (CEST).
- Audrey Azoulay (Director-General of UNESCO), IUCN opening ceremony, Friday, September 3, 5 pm to 7 pm (CEST).
- Meriem Bouamrane (Head of MAB Research and Policy Section – Ecology and Biodiversity, UNESCO) and Hélène Valade (Environmental Development Director, LVMH), “A Cultural Heartbeat for the Future of Nature: putting culture in the center of the post-2020 agenda”. Monday, September 6, 11 am to 12:30 pm (CEST).
- Meriem Bouamrane (Head of MAB Research and Policy Section – Ecology and Biodiversity, UNESCO) and Hélène Valade (Environmental Development Director, LVMH), “10 proposals for a sustainable planet: youth voices for a new deal for nature and people”. Tuesday, September 7, 11 am to 12:30 pm (CEST).
- Hélène Valade (Environmental Development Director, LVMH), launch of Natural Capital Laboratory, under the aegis of WWF France and the AgroParisTech Ecological Accounting Chair, Wednesday, September 8, 5 pm to 6:30 pm (CEST).
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