When it comes to sustainability, LVMH wants to do its homework.
On Thursday, the luxury conglomerate announced plans to build a new center in Saclay, France dedicated to researching sustainable production. The facility will focus on the use of new materials, innovative bio-technologies and digital data that can lead to a smaller carbon footprint and more eco-friendly practices. The research center, which is expected to open between 2024 and 2025, will host scientists, researchers and startups in co-working spaces.
According to LVMH, the Saclay-based facility will benefit from its proximity to a “very dynamic research ecosystem bringing together the world’s best expertise while maintaining a close connection with education and research.” There are an estimated 7,000 professionals concentrated in the southwestern Parisian suburb, which includes the top schools for engineering, science and agriculture in France.
Once the center is opened, LVMH will reportedly have close to 1,000 employees focusing on its sustainable research and developments. WWD reports that the team will include about 400 workers at an R&D center for perfumes and cosmetics in Saint-Jean-de-Braye, near Orléans, France. Meanwhile, other team members will be spread out across the group’s various brands and business divisions, from Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Dior in fashion and leather goods to Krug and Ruinart in wines and spirits.
“It will be a big facility, but we are not sure of the exact size,” chief strategy officer Jean Baptiste Voisin said.
LVMH believes that researchers are essential for evaluating the environmental impact of new materials and proper consideration of factors such as energy consumption, carbon-dioxide emissions, plastic content and the extent of working with recycled materials.
With that in mind, CEO Bernard Arnault is fast-tracking the project, with a roadmap already in place for the recruitment of teams and a clear objective for the center’s work. “We want the research and development center to be extremely product- and solutions-driven,” Voisin said. “Getting rid of plastics is at the core.”