Aussies rage at plastic covers on Louis Vuitton shopping bags: 'Help me understand'

The luxury brand's packaging has sparked a fierce debate.

A photo of a man in central Sydney carrying Louis Vuitton shopping bags inside larger plastic covers has sparked a fiery debate over convenience and sustainability. "This blows my mind. Somebody help me understand," a Reddit user posted alongside the image.

The photo has attracted hundreds of comments, with many Aussies outraged by the retailer's decision to package products in both cardboard and plastic. "This kind of plastic covering takes about 500-1,500 years to break down, and will be used ONCE before being thrown out into landfill," wrote one eco-conscious Redditor. "Those plastics and their microparticles will outlast our grandchildren's grandchildren."

Man walking with Louis Vuitton paper bags covered by plastic bags
Louis Vuitton's practice of double bagging has divided Aussies. Source: Reddit

However, other users sided with the brand, saying it's one of the world's most environmentally friendly companies and arguing that Louis Vuitton shopping bags should be protected as they're coveted items. One Reddit user commented that Louis Vuitton's parent company LVMH "has the most ambitious and creditable sustainability targets of any global lifestyle brand".

She also claimed both the cardboard bags and rain covers are produced from "recycled materials, made with ecologically sound inks and dyes, and manufactured with decreased dependency on fossil fuels", before noting, "They aren't thrown out either; collectibles."

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault
Some Redditors defended Louis Vuitton as an eco-friendly brand, suggesting its plastic coverings are made from recycled materials. Source: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

"They protect them because you can sell the bags online to needy brand-obsessed influencers so they can use the bags in posts and vids. Designer brand packaging sells well and for a lot of money considering what it is," commented another Redditor. Someone else agreed, writing, "I don't think it's that hard to comprehend why people would want to protect a luxury brand product and its packaging, especially if it's a gift."

Louis Vuitton's sustainability credentials

According to Women's Wear Daily, as of October 2021, Louis Vuitton reused or recycled 93 per cent of its event and window materials, while 69 per cent of energy used to power its workshops and logistics sites was renewable. In addition, 52 per cent of the brand's raw materials were certified sustainable, 32 per cent of its worldwide store network used full LED lighting, and one-third of its product categories utilise eco-design processes including a life-cycle assessment. The company hopes to achieve 100 per cent on all these metrics by 2025, while targeting a 55 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

However, Good On You, an Australia-based social impact enterprise that rates fashion brands based on their impact on the environment, people and animals, says Louis Vuitton is not doing enough. The luxury fashion house received a rating of "Not Good Enough" in January 2022, with Good On You saying, "Louis Vuitton needs to become much more transparent, and do far more to reduce its impact on people, the planet and animals in order to meet the expectations of a new generation of fashion lovers."

Louis Vuitton Australia has been approached for comment.

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