Luxury French fashion house Chanel has announced a three-year collaboration with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) to concentrate on sustainability solutions and leadership.
Chanel hopes that by collaborating with the University of Cambridge, it will be able to help drive sustainable product and process growth by using skills from around the university.
Chanel said in a statement that the multi-faceted collaboration would include "tailored sustainability education programs, innovative operational projects, and scholarships focused on driving greater participation."
This will entail collaboration with the Institute of Manufacturing, the Cambridge Judge Business School, and its Cambridge Zero climate change project to “advance practical sustainability solutions to specific business and social problems including how to reduce and avoid carbon emissions and address biodiversity loss”.
The partnership's initial emphasis will be on three key areas: establishing an education and development leadership curriculum, developing innovative operational projects, and providing financial assistance to students through sponsorships.
The CISL will assist Chanel in developing a “customized educational program" for its management and core operating departments to raise awareness and expand expertise on a variety of topics ranging from biodiversity and climate change to the use of materials and resources, according to Chanel.
This will be in addition to a run of three innovation "sprints" that will last up to 18 months each. To drive Chanel's creativity, each sprint will frame core questions and draw together perspectives and experiences from around the university. These will initially be focused on specific products and processes in fashion along with its wider business.
CISL will now assemble a pool of professionals to assist in the acceleration of innovative ideas and the prototyping of solutions for immediate use within Chanel.
The final stream of work will be to help what Chanel refers to as tomorrow’s leaders with the French fashion house looking to sponsor individuals from under-represented communities to enter CISL's Masters of Sustainability Leadership initiative over the next three years, dubbed as the biggest single-company support of an MA program.
Chanel will also collaborate with graduate students to help them adapt smart ideas to real-world challenges and promote Chanel's sustainable transformation policy.
In a statement, the chief sustainability officer at Chanel, Andrea d’Avack said that one of the most pressing issues confronting society today is sustainability, which is a core strategic focus for Chanel. They are honored to collaborate with one of the world's most renowned colleges and educational institutions.
He adds that this new partnership represents core pillars of their market transformation, ranging from research and insights that broaden the knowledge to seeking practical options to benefit their supply chain and broader communities. This is supported by educational programs aimed at embedding a sustainability mindset to accelerate change.
The director and chief executive officer, CISL, Clare Shine said that this is a really important collaboration with Chanel that has the potential to yield long-term gains on a global scale. Many of the technologies needed for genuinely sustainable economies and environments don't exist yet, aren't economically feasible or aren't entirely scalable.
He adds that they trust that this ambitious research-backed project will aid Chanel in ongoing efforts of shaping the future of luxury, informing leadership and best practices, and inspiring responsible inspire responsible businesses around the world.
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