Known for Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni
Kering is a luxury group with a portfolio of accessory (leather goods, jewellery, watches) and apparel brands, including Gucci and Saint Laurent. With global operations and core markets in Japan, North America, Asia Pacific and Europe, the company has 38,000 employees worldwide, nearly 24,000 women. In 2019, the company’s revenue was $18.9 billion.
Kering displays a commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. In addition to being a signatory to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and receiving the Gender Equality European and International Standard (GEEIS) accreditation, Kering has established a gender strategy that goes beyond general support for diversity and inclusion to include specific, time-bound targets on gender parity and salary equality for all company positions. The company has also identified individuals responsible for gender equality. Though no information was found regarding how Kering engages its own employees on gender issues, such as performing surveys, it engages with external stakeholders to provide equal access to professional opportunities for women workers in the supply chain.
Kering has a comprehensive gender-responsive grievance mechanism that considers the specific needs of its women employees by ensuring confidentiality, allowing verbal submissions of complaints and alternate access beyond the direct supervisor. Supply chain workers have access to the same grievance mechanism.
The company screens for gender-related issues among its suppliers as part of its audit processes, including sexual harassment and discrimination against women based on their pregnancy and marital status. It also requires corrective action to be taken if these issues are identified.
Kering considers the fair representation of women by analysing and monitoring the gender balance of its workforce annually. With a workforce that is 63% female, the company currently maintains a gender balance – 40-60% women – among its board of directors (60%) and middle management position (55%), though only 33% of senior executives are women. No information was found regarding the gender balance of the company’s senior management, its workforce across occupational function or the gender breakdown of employee turnover or absenteeism rates.
Kering addresses the systemic discrimination that women face by offering them professional development opportunities through mentorship and sponsorship programmes, as well as the EVE women’s leadership programme. The company also supports its suppliers in promoting professional development opportunities for their women workers. For example, it designed a project that seeks to develop women’s talents in the luxury supply chain and surveys women in the supply chain to identify challenges they face in their career development. The company requires suppliers to prohibit discrimination against pregnant and married women workers. However, suppliers are not required to provide non-discrimination training to hiring managers. No details were found about whether Kering actively procures from women-owned businesses or specific actions it has taken to increase the procurement spend directed to these businesses.
Kering states that it intends to end the gender pay gap at every level in the workplace by 2025, though the company does not disclose its current global gender pay gap or what active steps it is taking to address this gap.
In terms of family-friendly benefits, the company provides 14 weeks of full pay for maternity, paternity and adoption leave for all employees worldwide. It also helps support the unpaid care burden by offering flexible working hours and locations, childcare solutions and day-care centres for employees based in France.
In the supply chain, Kering considers the fair compensation of workers by requiring suppliers to extend formal contracts and a living wage that exceeds the minimum legal standard to cover basic needs and provide discretionary income. Moreover, Kering works in partnership with BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) and the Fair Wage Network to expand one of the main global databases on decent wages. However, no information was found regarding whether the company requires suppliers to provide their workers with paid carer leave or other family-friendly benefits.
Kering provides all employees with mental health services, though no information was found to suggest that the company covers additional costs surrounding the maternal or sexual and reproductive health needs specific to its women employees.
In the supply chain, the company requires suppliers to provide their workers with a safe and healthy work environment, for example access to drinking water and personal protective equipment, though no details were found regarding the specific health, safety and hygiene needs of women workers, such as toilets separated by gender and adequately lit factory facilities. Moreover, Kering has not made a public commitment to gender-responsive health information and services in its supply chain.
In the workplace, Kering seeks to prohibit violence and harassment, including sexual harassment, as part of its code of ethics. Ethical training and awareness are compulsory for all employees. Further, in collaboration with and in support of NGOs and social entrepreneurs, the company has organised awareness campaigns to combat domestic violence against women as part of employee volunteering and training. However, no details were available regarding Kering’s effective remedy to violence and harassment grievances in the workplace, such as not requiring private arbitration or silencing agreements.
In the supply chain, the company requires suppliers to prohibit violence and harassment as part of its code of ethics. However, no information was found on whether suppliers are required to provide violence and harassment training to their workers and managers or whether the company provides suppliers with support to prevent violence and harassment. Neither does Kering disclose any details that relate specifically to effective violence and harassment remediation processes in the supply chain.
Kering states that its “public relations and advertising are based on honesty and fairness”, though no information was found regarding how it addresses non-discriminatory practices in marketing and advertising, for example, by committing to avoid harmful gender stereotypes or ensuring gender-responsive communications and engagement with its customers to support gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Kering primarily drives gender equality and women’s empowerment in the communities where it operates through its support of REDD+ projects. These projects include initiatives such as empowering women around gold mines in Ghana, supporting cotton farmers in India through education in women’s rights and health and safety. Further, the company cooperates with various international organisations to support projects that focus on combatting female genital mutilation and forced marriage. The company is also committed to tackling violence against women through the Kering Foundation’s financial contributions and partnerships with local organisations in France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, such as the Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes (FNSF), Donne in Rete contro la violenza (DiRe), Women’s Aid, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) and the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).
Kering has shown support for the communities where it operates since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2020, Kering announced a donation to the Hubei Red Cross Foundation to help fight the spread of the virus in China, and in March 2020, the company made donations to the four major hospitals in Lombardy, Veneto, Tuscany and Lazio in Italy. More recently, subsidiary Gucci responded to Regione Toscana’s call to fashion companies for surgical masks and medical overalls, donating 1.1 million surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls. The French workshops of Kering’s fashion houses Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent have been involved with manufacturing masks, production contingent upon approval by the relevant authorities, while complying with the strictest health-protection measures for their staff members.