Gucci has joined forces with Chargeurs Luxury Fibers to boost regenerative wool as part of their NativaRegen program. The sustainability initiative works closely with 10 Uruguayan farms – one of them being La Soledad, managed by Gabriela Bordabehere.
Having kicked-off in mid-2022, the collaboration marks another chapter in Gucci’s sustainability strategy, fostering a new vision of the supply chain. “Gucci’s climate action strategy has evolved to a nature-positive approach where regenerative agriculture plays a key role. Analyzing our supply chain, we realized that there were opportunities to address environmental challenges,” said Antonella Centra, executive vice president and general counsel, corporate affairs and sustainability at Gucci.
Launched by the luxury firm, which is led by president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri, in collaboration with Chargeurs Luxury Fibers, one of the world’s largest wool producers, the Nativa Regenerative Agriculture Program supports farmers with the critical funds needed to transition into regenerative practices.
Federico Paullier, Chargeurs Luxury Fibers’ CEO, said the endeavor involves 100,000 hectares of land. “These farms were carefully selected by our team for their interest in improving the land and their wider ecosystems by thus transitioning into regenerative agriculture. This shift requires a change in farming practices, as well as accepting recommendations and working collaboratively with all partners, with the clear notion that results will be seen in the long term. In addition, the initiative includes supporting farmers and their surrounding communities, ensuring a program that is truly sustainable over time. La Soledad farm was the first one in Uruguay to embark on this project with us,” Paullier said.
Having a strong vision of the actions required to create a better future, Gucci has assembled a wide range of commitments together with Gucci Equilibrium, their platform fueling creativity, positive change for people and the planet, while seeking to reduce its environmental impact and protect nature.
Although it’s not the first mission of this kind — Gucci has been funding regenerative agriculture projects related to cattle, sheep and goat farming in the pastures of Montana and Patagonia since 2020 — selecting Uruguayan farms for this project marks a pivotal milestone for the country and its farmers.
Gabriela Bordabehere, the farmer and entrepreneur leading La Soledad, is representative of the Uruguayans who are changing their practices to optimize the benefits of regenerative agriculture. Bordabehere took over her husband’s company at age 40, and led La Soledad to become a model farm.
Intensive farming is considered to be one of the main activities responsible for the human-based emissions that lead to climate change. Breeding animals in a traditional agricultural production system generates nearly 15 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions and is a large contributor to environmental degradation in the form of deforestation, biodiversity loss and water pollution.
Following new technical-productive methods, La Soledad will eliminate synthetic agrochemical inputs and enhance the nutrient cycle within the farm to improve soil health and enable it to better sequester carbon, retain water and support biodiversity, while creating a thriving natural ecosystem.
Transitioning to regenerative practices in turn promotes soil health, increases biodiversity and supports animal welfare, pioneering, in addition, a new way of farming in these regions and supporting the farming community. Other actions will include the reintroduction of native forests in Uruguay and implementation of several measures to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, such as using renewable energy to power its facilities and planting trees to sequester carbon.
At the end of Milan Fashion Week last September, Gucci was presented with The Climate Action Award, which recognized the company’s efforts to promote regenerative agriculture and highlighted the Nativa Regenerative Agriculture Program. Bordabehere joined Bizzarri on stage to accept the award at Teatro alla Scala.
“The financial support that is given to farmers to address the transition will also have some positive effects for the communities involved in the project. In this specific collaboration, on top of the 150 agricultural workers, the project benefits their families and the surrounding communities, with a direct impact on 200 people and an indirect impact on 450. By supporting these initiatives, we are sowing the seeds of our future supply chain,” Centra said.
An initial quantity of 50 tonnes of wool will be received by Gucci every year starting from January and for an initial period of four years. The wool will be used in the brand’s collections over the next few seasons, contributing to a significant increase of its sustainably sourced wool, which will rise to 50 percent from the 38 percent in 2021.
As for how Bordabehere and her Uruguayan team will feel when the wool they farm enriches Gucci’s products, she said, “We will be toasting with the satisfaction of a job well done and new goals met. Once again, we will feel proud to have been part of such an outstanding project.”