To Good To Go, Green and Good, Tech For Good, Live For Good… “for good” initiatives are springing up everywhere. For Galeries Lafayette, a key player in the fashion industry, it’s Go For Good, a label launched in 2018 designed to positively transform the fashion industry. Two years later, are we really in the good for good?
The Galeries Lafayette in the Good movement
It would float in the air a strange Good movement. Journalist Nicolas Santolaria points this out in an article in Le Monde on September 25, 2020, “Does ‘goodwashing’ wash whiter?”. Goodwashing” is the instrumentalization of social themes, such as ecology or solidarity, used for marketing purposes to sell more and more, but better. “The “for good” is the guideline for all our actions,” says Laurent Turpault, Director of CSR Communications at Coca-Cola France. Of course Coca-Cola is bad for your health. However, since the brand supports bars and restaurants in QPVs (priority districts of the city) faced with containment, things are going much better. Some people still see good in the good and a certain gearing in the right direction. According to Axelle Aimé, Managing Director of IT Collection and co-founder of “Parisienne et alors”, “once you’re on the train of modernity, you can’t stop”. Despite the possible instrumentalization of the good, the involvement of powerful actors in social and environmental causes is necessary for the world to change. Kevin Levillain, a researcher in business theory at Mines ParisTech, explains in this article in Le Monde that “profit is no longer the only objective. Many companies have understood that they can also have a positive impact on society. Nevertheless, as long as there are no precise conditions for claiming to be “for good”, there can potentially be “goodwashing””. The designer and co-founder of the Bandit Manchot brand, Anne Duquesnoy deplores “the lack of established standards on the subject of eco-responsible fashion. Brands may say they care about the environment, but when you dig deeper, it’s not so true”. But since it’s good to be good…
And there is no lack of fashion. On September 5, 2018, Galeries Lafayette launched their in-house label Go For Good, a label that applies to fashion. But also to accessories, decoration, do-it-yourself and beauty. Its objective: to participate in positively transforming the fashion industry. To be labeled Go For Good, a product must meet at least one of three sub-criteria: environmental, social and local. From these three criteria, 38 sub-criteria are then derived (examples: upcycled material, chrome-free leather tanning, charitable product, product made in France). Some participating brands offer a 100% Go For Good offer (indicated in purple). However, only one sub-criterion needs to be filled in to obtain the label. And not all criteria are the same. Laser-washed jeans are among the products labeled Go For Good. This technique is less polluting than sandblasting, but far from being ethical for all that. Sometimes, only one product of a brand is labeled Go For Good. This is the case of Comptoir des Cotonniers, which offers Go For Good pants. These pants are Good For Go because they contain lyocell, a fiber made from processed wood pulp. It is an organic solution free of toxic solvents. Except, the garment also contains non-organic cotton and non-recycled polyester. Eva Perret, communications manager at the Galeries Lafayette group, explains that there is “no difference between two criteria for a product to be labeled. On the other hand, the Go For Good principle is to be transparent”. You will find the different Go For Good criteria on the labels. All that’s left to do is to decipher them!
Good effects that make themselves felt
The 2020 balance sheet
A “business analysis”, carried out internally, highlighted certain elements in relation to the objectives set in September 2019,” said Eva Perret. In observation: the sales of labeled products and the evolution of the number of Go For Good references. The label now represents 12,000 product references. That’s a total of 800 brands: 700 at Galeries Lafayette and 400 at BHV Marais. In September 2020, the offer represents 10% of the total offer. In terms of the Galeries Lafayette own brand, 40% of products now have the label. New common objectives: 25% of distributed products labeled Go For Good by 2024 and 100% of new brands referenced from 2024 with a Go For Good offer. But the Galeries are going further. They support associative projects (Women’s Foundation, EMMAÜS, etc.) by giving them a portion of the sales generated by Go For Good products. The Galleries also offer commercial conditions adapted to 200 young committed brands. They guarantee the traceability of their brand and a system of on-demand production to put an end to waste. Another good point: responsible consumption and the circular economy. The Galleries offer second-hand and rental services, as well as resale or recycling solutions for all products purchased from the Galleries or the BHV.
Second hand at Galeries Lafayette
Did you say second hand? Upcycling and recycled clothes are indeed making their appearance at Galeries Lafayette among the pop-up items on offer. Unthinkable before in this temple of consumption of novelty and luxury. There is of course a whole work of sensitization done by the brands. Because, one does not expect to have second-hand clothes at the Galleries. Marie Belmonte, founder of La Bonne Pioche, which offers exclusively second-hand clothing and recently introduced at Galeries Lafayette, quickly realized that “not everyone was yet into second-hand consumption, that it was still new, even unknown, for some customers. So there was a real effort to explain and raise awareness. We had some rather surprising thoughts: “What? Second-hand here?! “when customers come to buy brand names and brand new luxury goods with logos! It was a big challenge that second-hand is becoming so popular that it’s here”.
A gain in visibility for small brands
The Galeries Lafayette initiative has made it possible to reveal small unknown brands. La Bonne Pioche, Parisienne and then or Bandit Manchot are examples. We took the time to interview them. All of them have an ecological approach inherent to their creation, sometimes for 10 years, without recognition. The label has thus revealed invisible brands. Parisienne and then has an ecological discourse since the creation of the brand. For Axelle Aimé, the Galleries’ initiative is “one hell of a recognition of our work and what we believed in in 2018. We hope that more and more brands are moving in this direction”. As for Bandit Manchot, the meeting with Galeries Lafayette came about by chance, during the Maison&Objets trade show. Anne Duquesnoy remembers this moment when “the person from the Galeries was very surprised by the materials we use and also to see that we had been in the skin upcycling niche for 10 years”.
Positive brand empowerment
Thanks to the integration of the Go For Good label, certain brands have been able to reflect more on their ethical and eco-responsible approach. There is this idea that integrating a good label, whatever it is, at least leads to reflection and the search for meaning. Here the label plays the role of making the brand responsible for its overall approach. Through Go For Good, brands are encouraged not necessarily to change, but at least to question themselves. This is already the beginning of a responsible development approach. And once the idea has been implemented in the minds of a multitude of brands, change can only go in the right direction, through imitation. It just remains to be seen whether it will be faster or slower… The Parisian brand, which is not labeled 100% Go For Good, has indeed received the “ecological message”. “Now, we will do things at our own pace with our means. We’re starting to ask ourselves how we can go further in our approach. And it’s not just about producing with natural fibers, it’s also about not using plastic, participating financially in supporting associations that are in the same dynamic as us… It’s important to be intellectually honest,” Axelle Aimé emphasizes.
And what about the customer in all this ?
According to the sponsor of the Go For Good initiative and green fashion pioneer Stella McCartney, “the customer now has full power, he deserves better and fashion must be more responsible”. Sales figures for Go For Good products are still relatively low. These products account for 7% of sales. It is currently difficult to measure the real effect of the label on customers and the evolution of their purchases. But, “it is certain that customers are in demand” for Axelle Aimé. According to Eva Perret, who has been with the Galeries Lafayette group for more than 4 years, the Galeries are still in “an awareness phase”. She adds that it is difficult to measure the perception of the label by the customer. A citizen consultation was launched on the subject in September 2020 to take the pulse of consumer expectations in terms of responsible fashion. Go For Good gives customers an active role in choosing more environmentally friendly fashion. They have the opportunity to make a choice towards a product that is labeled with full knowledge of the causes. The individual can therefore choose to take an active part in the movement towards good. And the message conveyed by the Galeries necessarily has an important impact, precisely because it comes from Galeries Lafayette. Reciprocally good.