Supporting Ermenegildo Zegna Group to develop an integrated sustainability and disclosure strategy
Headquartered in Milan, Ermenegildo Zegna Group (Zegna) is a leading global Fashion group founded in 1910, that expanded beyond textile production to ready to wear products and accessories to become a highly recognised luxury lifestyle brand.
The Ermenegildo Zegna Group designs, creates and distributes luxury menswear and accessories under the Zegna brand, as well as womenswear, menswear and accessories under the Thom Browne brand. Through its Luxury Textile Laboratory Platform – which works to preserve artisanal mills producing the finest Italian fabrics – the Zegna Group manufactures and distributes the highest quality fabrics and textiles.
Ahead of its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in December 2021, Zegna and Quantis worked together to define a robust sustainability strategy starting from the seeds already rooted in the Group’s strong legacy of high-quality craftmanship, timeless design and environmental and CSR stewardship.
After 110 years as a family-run business, Ermenegildo Zegna Group made the decision to go public and become the first Italian fashion luxury company to be listed on the NYSE. Prior to this project, Zegna had published its 2020 Sustainability Report but had not fully formalized its sustainability efforts, strategy and commitments. To strengthen the corporate governance requirements from being a public company, related to disclosure and corporate ethics, Zegna partnered with Quantis to formalize an integrated sustainability strategy, ESG roadmap, and a communication and engagement strategy rooted in scientific metrics.
While the Group continues to progress on its long term journey on its “Road to Tomorrow”, it remains committed to upholding its founder’s legacy – one that is based upon the principle that a business’s activities should nurture bonds with the natural world and with its communities to create a better present and future.
The scope of the project was split into three main phases.
First, Quantis conducted a materiality assessment engaging internal and external stakeholders, to identify material sustainability issues and, ultimately, inform Zegna’s sustainability strategy. Quantis interviewed 25+ stakeholders, including all members of the C-suite, at Zegna’s offices, Trivero wool mill and Mendrisio factory. Representatives of leading NGOs, including Textile Exchange, and other external stakeholders (shareholders, suppliers, customers, universities etc) were also interviewed for their views on where Zegna should focus its attention. In total, Quantis gathered input from 180+ people on the impact and importance of material topics.
The second phase involved translating the findings of the materiality assessment into a detailed action plan. Quantis identified 85 short-, medium- and long-term ESG actions which were translated into a set of priorities targeted at climate and biodiversity, and supporting ecodesign and the development of a circular business model. The plan provides Zegna with a clear roadmap for measuring and reducing its impact, building capacity, and communicating about its efforts credibly, both internally and externally.
In the final phase of the project, Quantis supported Zegna in developing a disclosure strategy to share metrics on material topics and showcase progress, and in communicating the fashion Brand’s sustainability vision, strategy and goals. As part of the process, Quantis helped Zegna assess the available standards and frameworks for disclosing ESG data, and ultimately settled on the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) framework and standards Complemented by GRI.
As part of the new governance requirements, Zegna formally established a Governance and Sustainability Committee to monitor, evaluate and report on the group’s sustainability policies and practices.
The company has already begun to make progress on its action plan and launched three work streams addressing its vendor management strategy, water impacts and animal welfare. Zegna has set up a task force to put in place a comprehensive vendor management system aimed at strengthening the group’s long-standing relationship with its supply chain and managing sustainability-related risks. Another task force is working to quantify Zegna’s water footprint in its owned facilities and in its supply chain, conducting a water risk exercise to assess the fashion house’s exposure to climate risk, to develop a water strategy.
With information and guidance provided in its disclosure strategy, Zegna published its first SASB-aligned standard and sustainability report in 2022, marking a milestone in its commitment to enhanced transparency and communication with stakeholders.
"As early as in 1910, our founder had understood that the beauty of nature and the well-being of people are both indispensable for a company aiming for long-term success"
Ermenegildo Zegna Group