In 2018, The French clothing brand Lacoste replaced its iconic crocodile logo with ten endangered animals including the Sumatran Tiger and the Anegada Rock Iguana. The Lacoste team created 10 limited edition polo shirts, where its iconic crocodile leaves its historic spot to ten threatened species. Together these rare reptiles, birds and mammals champion the plight of all known threatened species. The number produced in each series corresponded to the remaining population sizes in the wild as estimated by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) species experts.
The French tennis champion Rene Lacoste was nicknamed “the crocodile” in 1927 for his tenacity on the court. Today, the Lacoste logo still symbolises the will and commitment the brand invests into taking action against a universal challenge which many agree is of utmost urgency to environmental sustainability.
But is it truly sustainable?
What the fashion giant gained from the Save our Species line was tremendous visibility in the context of environmental awareness. Some people in the activist world would liken this to greenwashing: a type of marketing scheme to make a company look more environmentally friendly than it actually is.
Rank a Brand has an extensive report on the sustainability practices of numerous manufacturers, and Lacoste falls short compared to its competitors with a rank of E, the lowest possible mark. According to the website, that’s mostly due to the obscurity of their environmental policies or their inability to communicate the measures they have taken in that direction. Rank a Brand’s exhaustive score rapport reveals that Lacoste checks only 1 out of 31 sustainability-related queries, and that one is greenhouse emission control. That’s green policy 101. The company ranks even lower in the Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI), which evaluates environmental management and water pollution in China-based supply chains. Lacoste scored 0/100.