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Hermès presents the “Footsteps across the World” film collection A look at Hermès’ actions for sustainable development
The “Footsteps across the World” film collection, commissioned by Hermès from documentary film‐maker Frédéric Laffont, expresses Hermès’ singular connection with sustainable development.
48D 52' 08.16", 02D 19' 17.95"
Coordinates redefined

Hermès’ action for sustainable development is founded on the values passed down through the generations by the artisans who have shaped the house and its objects since 1837. The roots of the house’s longevity lie in a sense of responsibility, a quest for authenticity, and respect for time and natural resources. Men and women, the communities to which the house belongs, and materials derived from its natural environment have been its constant companions from its very origins. Today, they are more than ever at the centre of its attention and its commitment to progress.

Leather, a precious material Bag, saddle, gloves, shoes, belt… These Hermès objects could not be made without leather. But this precious raw material is not always used in its entirety. The house’s craftsmen and designers have therefore devised new solutions to reduce and recycle offcuts. Image Lucie & Simon

None are left out, there is a home for them all somewhere. One will become a card holder, another the handle of a stone doorstop. Even the smallest pieces of leather find a purpose. They will be sent to whichever production site, sector or partner can turn them into something of value. Image Lucie & Simon

Frédéric Laffont, brings his humanistic perspective as he walks in the house’s footsteps and gives free rein to his camera. “This is a collection of freely‐produced short documentaries showing multiple fragments of often little‐known environments, which are in fact all parts of the same world,” states the film‐maker. 

“Human beings, who might initially seem far removed from each other, but are actually united by invisible bonds.”  

In the sillage of fragrances: recycling and energy From Eau d’Hermès, the original fragrance inspired by “the interior of a Hermès bag in which lingers the aroma of a fragrance” to the latest creation, Twilly d’Hermès, all of the house’s scents have been made in Vaudreuil in northern France. The manufacture is home to an olfactory library and closely monitors its environmental footprint. Image: Osma Harrilathi

What goes on behind the scenes is just as important. As soon as it is developed, a new fragrance is examined and laid bare in order to plan how the waste it leaves in its wake should be processed. Amongst the partners of Hermès Parfums who collect the 800 tonnes of residue each year from Vaudreuil, Cèdre is the company that goes the furthest in seeking recycling solutions. This concerns the recipients that contained the raw materials, as well as filters, plastics, damaged boxes and broken glass. 67% of materials are recycled. The rest is incinerated to produce energy. Image: Quentin Bertoux

As Frédéric Laffont navigates from story to portrait, and from journey to encounter, he is transported by skills, people and places. Whether they concern employment and regional integration with the creation of a leather goods workshop in Montbron (France), the training and transmission of skills at the Goldfinger Factory (London), a social enterprise supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, or the protection of the environment in Kongossi (Burkina Faso), Frédéric Laffont’s films show the positive impact that the Parisian house seeks to have on the world.

With the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, priority goes to proximity What if the future of the climate hinged on a village in Kenya, Indonesia or Peru, rather than on international summits? The Livelihoods carbon funds, of which Hermès has been a partner since 2012, encourage this grassroots approach. The projects benefit rural populations while offsetting the house's carbon footprint. The group has just signed up to a new twenty-year commitment. Image Jean-Francois Hellio - Araku Valley, India

Living close to the Indonesian mangrove forests, the Peruvian Altiplano or the Casamance coffee plantations, the most vulnerable populations are the main victims of climate change. They are on the front line for cyclones and droughts, and witness the disappearance of plant and animal species one after another. The Livelihoods Carbon Fund has therefore decided to “rebuild the world home”, starting with rural communities and local NGOs. Solutions must be simple and scalable. And their effects on the quality of life of populations and CO2 emissions must be measurable. Image Sandro Di Carlo I Darsa I Livelihoods Funds I Ayacucho & Huancavelika Perou I NGO ITYF

So what is the initial result? Over a six-year period, the nine Livelihoods 1 projects benefited one million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and 130 million trees were planted. By way of dividends, the contributing companies receive high social value carbon credits that partly offset their own emissions. Image Nicolas GauduchonI Livelihoods Funds IEmbu, Kenya I NGO EcoAct

These stories tell us how Hermès endeavours to create objects that withstand the test of time and to forge lasting connections with the surrounding world. In other words, they demonstrate how Hermès builds its connection with the environment and with society, which it defines as an artisan’s relationship with the world.

Frédéric Laffont

Frédéric Laffont is a French documentary film‐maker. Author and director of over 60 documentary films, he has received many awards, including the Albert Londres prize in 1987.  He founded the Interscoop press agency and the feature film production company Albert Films. In 2011, he made Les Mains d’Hermès,a film about the different métiers of the Parisian house. He is the director of Camera Magica, a documentary film production company founded in 2008.


Hermès was established in Paris in 1837, and since then six generations of enterprising and passionate artisans have contributed to spreading its values: sourcing the finest materials, enriching the know‐how of highly precise skills, and


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