People invest in luxury experiences for various reasons and at different points in their life. While for some, a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to a five-star resort is just that, others invest in the best-of-the-best as a way of their lifestyle.
However, as more and more activists stand up for Mother Nature and her suffering, many luxury brands are tasked with creating unique, incredible opportunities, travel moments and products that raise the bar—but do not create more waste.
Many strategic brands have not only thought about sustainability, but they’ve made it the cornerstone of the experience their customers have. From electronics and clothing to travel and beyond, here are ways to stand out from the rest of the noise—all while promoting goodwill.
Who they are: This company was founded in 1972 and produced high-fidelity music systems, and made their way to North America in 1979. Twenty years later, Lenbrook international purchased them, and invested in new audio and video technology.
Their sustainable practice: When you have a piece of technology that works just fine when you first start using it, but then starts to suffer when a new, shiny option is released, it’s frustrating. And also pretty terrible for the environment. NAD solved this by introducing ‘Modular Design Construction’, that places the complex digital circuitry on replaceable and easily updatable slide-in modules for TVs and audio systems. They first implemented this practice in 2007—and have been improving it ever since.
How it changed the brand: Not only were their customers happy, but they saved money. “it allowed us to innovate constantly and keep our products fresh in the market. At the same time renewing just 30 percent of the product saved the development costs required when creating a completely new product. It also allowed our customers to stay current with new technology while protecting their investment in a product that won’t become prematurely obsolete. About a third of our customers have upgraded their products to newer technology!,” shares Greg Stidsen, the chief technology officer for Lenbrook International/NAD Electronics.
Who they are: This luxury clothing company offers gorgeous and one-of-a-kind silk sundresses, jackets, and jumpsuits.
Their sustainable practice. No matter what you purchase from this company, you can feel good about it since everything is created from upcycled saris. In fact, every single last scrap of the fabric is used in the design process, with nothing going to waste. Anything that’s left over is turned into a silk bag that’s included with every purchase, for easy traveling. Those scraps from the hang tags are turned into labels that are sewn into the garments. Going a step beyond sustainability, they are also promoting goodwill, since they provide jobs to people throughout a small village in Goa, employing individual artisans rather than large factories. The brand’s founder made this change a few years ago, after visiting Goa and seeing scraps on the floor. She was inspired to turn them into a bag. She realized she could do no waste—and still be successful.
How it’s changed the brand: “We are always striving to be better, to learn and do what we can. We started this brand to help a family, and at the stressful moments we always come back to why we are doing what we are doing. We love it when women come to the showroom and cry tears of joy over the silks….this happens often. There’s a palpable energy to our pieces.” —Elissa Kravetz, owner and designer of Sun Child.
The brand: As the name suggests, this boutique and elite fitness studio brand offers three disciplines: interval training, indoor cycling and yoga. With two locations in Chicago, it’s become a favorite with a cult-following.
Their sustainable practice: Every part of their business touches on green initiatives, from the locker rooms and the laundry to building systems and their front desk operations. They do not sell plastic water bottles, only communicate with members via digital mediums, they turn off electricity when it’s not needed, only run full loads of laundry and encourage members to bring their own, and so on. Right now, they’re also working to implement other sustainability principles, including movement sensor ambient lighting, paperless restrooms, greener cleaning supplies and so on.
How it’s changed the brand: “It hasn’t changed the company as much as it’s made us better: more creative, more mindful, more holistic in our approach to self-improvement. It’s not only about coming to the club to work or workout. It’s my hope and belief, as we have witnessed, that people will generally do what is right if presented with the opportunity.” —David Blitz, Studio Three president & CEO.
The brand: Dreamy and elegant, this Maldives boutique property is about as picture-perfect as you can imagine. But this five-star hotel also makes an effort to support Mother Nature and its local delicate ecosystem.
Their sustainable practice: Since 2017, Soneva Fushi has been hyperfocused on their environmental footprint, and today, it recycles 90 percent of its waste on-site through a robust waste management strategy. This starts with their Plastic Recycling Program, which made the resort the first in the Maldives to recycle plastic on site. They also provide guests the opportunity to be part of this goodwill, where they can use recycled glass to create a take-home masterpiece. Most recently in February 2020, they launched Soneva Namoona, which is a project aimed to reduce plastic waste from their neighboring islands. This partnership works with local government and Eco Centro facilities to promote the purpose and value of effectively handling waste.
How it’s changed the brand: “Maalhos can now produce wealth from its waste. This is just the beginning; and we will roll out the Eco Centros to Dharavandhoo and Kihaadhoo this year, and working with the government in hopes to extend the project to the whole of Baa Atoll—making it truly Namoona Baa.’”—Sonu Shivdasani, Soneva’s CEO and co-founder.
The brand: Brilliant Earth is a global retailer of responsibly sourced bridal and fine jewelry. Founded in 2005 by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg, Brilliant Earth is dedicated to creating exquisite fine jewelry while promoting a more ethical, transparent and compassionate jewelry industry.
Their sustainable practice: When you read about ‘conflict-free’ diamonds, usually it means a brand is following the Kimberley Process definition. This is a narrow approach, since it defines conflict diamonds as those that finance rebel movements against recognized government. However, Brilliant Earth takes it a step further by ensuring their supplies meet a long chain of custody protocol, giving them the ability to track and segregate diamonds by origin. This means supplies are required to source diamonds from specific mine operators who follow internationally-recognized labor, trade and environmental standards. In addition to this, they also craft jewelry from recycled metals, hoping to protect both human life and the planet. And, to offset their carbon footprint, they contribute to the Tropical Rainforest Conservation in Brazil, protecting 750,000 acres of tropical rainforest.
How it’s changed their brand: “Our strong social mission to give back and provide jewelry sourced in an ethical and sustainable manner is central to who we are as a company. While we have evolved to become one of the fastest growing jewelers, our focus on sustainability has remained at the forefront of our brand and our company. We are just as passionate about cultivating a more transparent, sustainable, and compassionate jewelry industry today as we were when we first began.”—Beth Gerstein, co-founder & CEO of Brilliant Earth.