Those who know me can imagine that I was excited about the announcement that, beginning with its Spring–Summer collection 2018, Gucci is going fur free. Why is this important enough to justify even a report on CNN? Because Gucci is one of the most iconic and revered traditional fashion brands of all times, and yet it seems the brand has heard the voice of its consumers and fans who, as part of a more mindful consumerism, are asking for change and voting with their wallet to support brands responsive to these requests and the new realities.
And Gucci is not the only example of Brands that have embraced the new reality that doing good can go hand in hand with doing well financially, and that “being the change…” may create not only great karma but also a robust bottom line. Others, too, know the benefits of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. There are the ones who always knew—the trailblazers such as Patagonia, which is true to its slogan “Create the best product, cause no unnecessary harm,” and TOMS, the creator of the “One for One” economy, which half the world predicted would fail when it launched but which has, in fact, thrived and in the course of its success has provided millions of children in need with shoes. But good karma is going mainstream: Adidas has developed a shoe made from recycled plastic bottles and material recovered from abandoned gill nets in the ocean; the “B Team” was created by industry leaders such as Unilever, Virgin, Allianz Group, Salesforce, and Natura to change the way we do business “for the well-being of people and planet”; and Leonardo DiCaprio just joined Bill Gates as an investor in meat alternatives produced by Beyond Meat.
In conclusion, brands are investing in good karma by becoming the leaders of change, and we IP lawyers need to be able to address CSR-related issues and be the best strategic partners to these businesses we can be. CSR and sustainability are quickly becoming among the most important factors permeating every type of business decision, including the ones we thought were exclusive to the specialized (and, for outsiders, sometimes slightly wacky and incomprehensible) world of IP lawyers. And that is exactly what our Brand Authenticity Conference is about—come join us in Berlin on November 30 and December 1—our exciting speakers will tell you all about the intersection of brands and CSR and…good karma.