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Panerai executive speaks to AUS students on shifts toward sustainability in the luxury sector
With the evolution of the luxury industry, it is essential that it encompasses all aspects related to sustainability, said Francesca Manfredi, Head of Sustainability at Panerai, during a lecture held at the School of Business Administration (SBA) at American University of Sharjah (AUS).
Organized by Chalhoub Group Professorship in Luxury Brand Management, the lecture discussed the Italian luxury watch company’s Ocean Conservation Initiative in partnership with UNESCO, highlighting the significant role of the luxury industry in achieving sustainability. The speaker focused on Panerai’s sustainability initiative, Ecological, and its five pillars, including performance in real estate, which focused on their offices; processes and the transformation in material used and business model; products; people; and partnerships.
“We need to act in the face of what the world is facing today, but to do so, we need to understand first what sustainability means. Sustainability is about living our life today without compromising the lives of future generations tomorrow. We must take this into consideration when we carry out our everyday business, and we do that by creating activities and strategies to meet these goals. Since you (university students) are the future leaders of tomorrow, it is important to discuss with you how to transform a business model of a luxury brand with a focus on sustainability. The first word you need to connect to sustainability is transformation. To achieve that, you will need the attention of top management of the brand,” said Manfredi.
The lecture comes as part of SBA’s role as an integrator between corporations, both in the private and public sector, and students. The college continues to foster sustainable and valuable partnerships with various stakeholders in the region, differentiating its academic programs as it maintains the currency of its curriculum with the ever-dynamic environment.
“Sustainability is an important consideration when consumers make purchase decisions, let alone when they buy luxury brands for which they have to pay a premium price. Luxury products are made to last for a long time so the sustainability concept is inherently compatible with the notion of luxury,” said Professor George Christodoulides, Chalhoub Group Professor of Luxury Brand Management.
He added: “It is also vital that our students meet with industry leaders in the luxury sector and learn first-hand about the shifts in mindsets towards sustainable business models, ecologically and functionally. These lectures are meant to provide students, the future businessmen and women of tomorrow, with examples of real-life initiatives that aim to create a difference in the world. Hosting Panerai’s Francesca Manfredi comes as part of our belief in the importance of keeping our students abreast of real-time transformations within the industry. Maintaining meaningful engagement with our partners maximizes opportunities for students, alumni and the wider AUS community.”
AUS is home to the Chalhoub Group Professorship in Luxury Brand Management, a center of excellence for research and teaching in luxury marketing that was established in 2013 with an endowment by the Chalhoub Group. Taking the lead in luxury marketing education for the region, AUS offers a range of relevant courses for undergraduate students wishing to pursue a vibrant business career in this critical and growing industry including a brand new minor in Luxury Marketing. According to the latest report by Bain & Co. (2023), the size of the luxury industry is estimated at 1.5 trillion USD.
The lecture comes at an opportune time at AUS with the UAE declaring 2023 the “Year of Sustainability” and preparing to host COP28 later this year. Sustainability has been a key strategic issue at AUS, which it has embedded in its courses and operations. AUS is also widely known for its many sustainability initiatives, including developing its first comprehensive Climate Action Plan, which aligns the university’s sustainability efforts with the UAE’s Net Zero 2050 strategic initiative announced in October 2021.
For more information about the Chalhoub Group Professorship in Luxury Brand Management at the School of Business Administration at the American University of Sharjah, visit www.aus.edu/sba.