Following on from my last article on luxury in Dubai, I came across this fascinating article looking at Deepening Luxury in Delhi. It tells of a presentation by Jem Bendell at the International Herald Tribune conference on Sustainable Luxury in Delhi, India, in March 2009.
The report focuses on the role that luxury brands can play in helping to promote sustainability. “Luxury brands have the margin and mandate to create the most environmentally friendly products and services.” And also “I am here because I believe that luxury can lead, not lag, in the transition to a fair and sustainable world.”
The ability for luxury brands to market environmental awareness, promote reliability and longevity, and have strong links with developing economies for the development of their products is well stated. Some brands are doing it but so much more could be done. Too often I have found that luxury tends to involve excess and waste rather than longevity and care.
Currently, my son is completing a project on renewable energy and discovering the frustrations of people not willing to take action on sustainability issues. This “Life is good, I don’t need to worry about the future” attitude seems to be quite prevalent here in Dubai. Brands tend to be used as status symbols to define someone in luxury rather than as monikers to encourage awareness raising and responsibility across the populace.
I like Jem’s approach of working “towards a new form of luxury that embodies what is personally, socially and environmentally the best of human creativity.” This deeper luxury requires a change from buying a brand for status to buying luxury for the inherent meaning in the goods and services and to pass on that message of environmental awareness to others through the branding.