On June 16, Kering assembly accepted the proposal to include Emma Watson on the board of directors. The actress, who became famous for her role in the Harry Potter saga, took on the position of chairman of the Board of Directors’ Sustainability Committee. So far, that’s the news. But Kering’s choice to involve a vegan public personality in the group’s activities raises questions about strategies.
CEO François-Henri Pinault explains in a note that appointing Emma Watson (who came together with those of Jean Liu and Tidjiane Thiam) should be read as an enrichment of management skills: “The collective intelligence that comes from different points of view – he writes – and the wealth of different experiences are crucial for the future of our organisation. I am proud to add such impressive talent to the team”. The know-how, however, is not lacking in the group. Kering was a promoter with the Elysée of the Fashion Pact. It recently updated the sustainability objectives of its admiral brand, Gucci. And from 2015 to 2018, as Pinault himself claimed during the assembly, it achieved tangible results in terms of reducing the environmental impact.
The move raises some questions, we said. The French group is keen to explain that Watson was not chosen only as a celebrity, but above all because she already has a long experience of civil commitment to gender equality. At the same time, Watson did not only commit herself on issues dear to feminism, but, as a vegan, also on issues related to green fashion and beauty. Green meaning? During the promotion of the film “Beauty and the Beast” (2017), for example, she told on Instagram the clothing choices made for presentations and interviews: by reading the posts it is clear how, in her idea of sustainable fashion, there is the use of animal-free clothing and footwear (which often means, as we know, in synthetic material).
Kering group has had the brand Stella McCartney in its wallet for years. It is accustomed, therefore, to living with those who have radical positions on materials of animal origin. But Paul’s daughter was in a different position. Emma Watson, on the other hand, takes a position at the top of the entire holding. We will see what will come of it.
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