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Natura urges Brazil to protect Amazon after fires hit suppliers



Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura & Co is pressing government officials, the private sector and local communities to bolster environmental protections in the Amazon after fires this year disrupted its supply chain, its chief executive told Reuters.

Natura, which makes many cosmetics using natural additives from the Amazon, convened meetings to facilitate dialogue as deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region hit an 11-year high this year – Reuters

Soon to become the world’s fourth-largest beauty group after acquiring rival Avon Products Inc, Natura is advocating sustainable development of the Amazon without antagonizing right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called for greater economic exploitation of the vast region.

“It seems to me the new government is critical of existing control mechanisms but has not yet set in motion alternatives,” Natura CEO João Paulo Ferreira said in an interview late on Friday.

Under Bolsonaro, who took office at the start of this year, forest fires surged in August, the most for the month since 2010.

That backslide triggered global outcry about his government’s policies toward the world’s largest tropical rainforest, considered key to the fight against climate change because of the amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs.

Reuters reported in August that Bolsonaro’s government had systematically weakened Brazil’s environmental agency, grounding an elite enforcement team and forbidding agents from destroying machinery used in illegal deforestation.

Natura, which makes many cosmetics using natural additives from the Amazon, convened meetings to improve dialogue between government officials, NGOs and local communities as deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region hit an 11-year high this year.

“The Amazon rainforest is too big for an individual actor alone to have the capacity for change,” Ferreira said.

Last week, Natura publicly backed the Health and Happiness Project, expressing concern about a state police raid against the NGO amid a probe of a recent rash of forest fires.

Natura is also faced with operational challenges as some of its suppliers in the Amazon, mostly nut producers, were affected by the fires, according to Ferreira.

“Luckily, we were able to compensate for shortages by using our extensive network of 4,500 families in the Amazon region,” he said.

Natura’s ties with the Amazon can be traced to 1999, when it started working with local families to explore Brazil’s biodiversity in a sustainable way. The company partners with 37 communities supplying dozens of ingredients.

“We’ve been partners for almost 20 years now and Natura helps us strengthen our cooperative and improve management,” said Alexandro Queiroz dos Santos, who coordinates a project called RECA that supplies mostly vegetable oils and butter to Natura from 260 small agro-forestry producers.

Two of its producers lost plantations to flames a few months ago, and it also faces pressure from logging companies and cattle ranchers, Santos said.

Since 2011, Natura has invested around 1.5 billion reais (£278.25 million) in multiple activities in the Amazon, contributing to preserve 1.8 million hectares of rainforest.

Ferreira sees the company boosting Amazon investments as it expands the Natura brand following the acquisition of Britain’s The Body Shop in 2017 and Avon Products Inc this year.

He reiterated that the group is on track to conclude the Avon transaction by the end of the first quarter, after it was approved by Brazil’s antitrust body on Nov. 6 and by shareholders of both companies on Nov. 13.

© Thomson Reuters 2019 All rights reserved.

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Missoni accelerates direct retail growth in China and US, diversifies into watches




Missoni is driving forward on all fronts, bolstered by the Fondo Strategico Italiano investment fund (FSI), which acquired a 41.2% stake in the Italian label last June. It is busy especially in the areas of retail expansion, product diversification and licensing. And Missoni recently announced it is entering the watches sector, working with the luxury division of US group Timex.

Missoni is launching its first watches line with Timex – Missoni

The licence agreement signed with the division (which is based in Switzerland and notably manages the licenses for Versace and Salvatore Ferragamo), covers the design, development and distribution of the Italian label’s watches. The first models will be available from autumn 2020 at Missoni stores, authorised retailers and online.

“The watches will associate the impeccable precision of a Swiss-made movement with a uniquely Italian-style design, characterised by the inimitable aesthetic that has made the label’s collections famous, featuring zigzag patterns, combinations of textures, materials and colours, as well as prints and lettering,” said Missoni in a press release. The collection will consist of about 40 models for men and women, priced between €400 and €2,000.

Creating a watches collection is the latest instance of Missoni’s diversification drive, after the label inked a five-year licence deal with Safilo last year to produce the Missoni and M Missoni eyewear lines. It is also keen to promote its home decoration and accessories line, Missoni Home, developed by T&J Vestor, an Italian company specialising in home linens.

“The Missoni Home licence is a business worth approximately €20 million. We want to strengthen this segment internationally and we are working on a project for a Missoni Baia flat in Miami,” Michele Norsa told Norsa was appointed vice-president of Missoni after FSI, in which he is a partner, acquired its stake in the label.

“Nearly €70 million has been invested in Missoni since the operation with FSI, which consisted in a share capital increase. Among other things, much work has been done to set up a governance system with the [Missoni] family,” added Norsa.

The company currently generates revenue of €150 million, 75% of which comes from exports. It is focusing chiefly on organic growth. For example, it internalised the development of its young line M Missoni, which was previously licensed out, putting it under the supervision of Margherita Missoni. She is the daughter of Creative Director Angela Missoni, and is a member of the third generation of the label’s founding family, enabling the latter to look to the future and ensure Missoni’s continuity.

Missoni’s Spring/Summer 2020 show – © PixelFormula

Under Margherita’s aegis, M Missoni has extended its range introducing clothes made of fabrics other than just knitwear, and developed various capsule collections. “[M Missoni’s] price positioning is more affordable than that of the main line, but it chiefly targets young and Asian consumers, with an emphasis on lighter, more summery items,” said Norsa.

Handbags and China on the cards for 2020

Another major project Missoni is working on is the launch of a handbag line in 2020, broadening the scope of a label that until now was chiefly focused on men’s and women’s ready-to-wear.

Finally, on the direct retail front, it is stepping up the pace of its expansion. It currently operates about 20 monobrand stores, and is planning several new openings, and to enter the Chinese market in 2020. The label never had a presence in China except during the 1970s, when it operated a store in Hong Kong. Missoni now wants to open directly owned stores in China, with the help of a consultant, beginning with three shops in Beijing, Shanghai and perhaps Chengdu.

Again in Asia, the label opened its first store in Singapore last month. By the end of December, it also intends to open in Dubai, where it is taking back control of its distribution, previously managed by a franchisee. Equally, in London, where Missoni formerly had a franchised store, it will reopen a directly owned one.

The US is another important market for Missoni, which recently opened a store in Bal Harbour, near Miami, and relocated its New York flagship, moving it slightly higher up Madison Avenue, at street number 680, between 61st and 62nd Street. In the US, Missoni is planning two new openings: one in Los Angeles and the other, for M Missoni, in Aventura, between Miami and Palm Beach, inside the Aventura Mall shopping centre.

As for its stock market listing, while the operation has been looked at, it is still early days for it. “It is certainly a good solution, the logical one after an investment fund’s exit. But the more likely time frame is within the next four to five years,” concluded Norsa.

Copyright © 2019 All rights reserved.

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Gabrielle Union met with NBC about ‘AGT’ concerns




Gabrielle Union confirmed on Wednesday that a meeting had taken place to improve workplace culture at America’s Got Talent, one week after it was reported how a toxic environment led to her firing. It was announced last month that neither Union nor Julianne Hough would be brought back as judges for season 15.

Union tweeted that she had “a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday.” The 47-year-old actress added, “I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”

NBC released a statement also calling the meeting productive.

“The initial conversation was candid and productive,” the network said Wednesday. “While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution.”

It’s unclear what exactly was discussed at the meeting or who was present. Multiple reports claimed Union was fired after she was perceived as “difficult” by Cowell and his team of producers for raising concerns about racially insensitive situations. According to Deadline, much of Tuesday’s meeting was about Cowell, who is an executive producer on the show. “The ball is in NBC’s court to see if they can get Cowell to agree to make some changes to the way things are done on the show,” an insider claimed.

Related Video: Sharon Osborne Comes to Defence of Gabrielle Union on ‘AGT’

Julianne Hough is also speaking out about the drama surrounding her departure — sort of. She’s beginning to promote her upcoming Christmas specials on (drum roll) NBC and was asked about the controversy during a Tuesday appearance on People Now alongside her brother Derek Hough.

“There have been a lot of headlines and press about you and Gabrielle Union not returning to America’s Got Talent. How are you handling that situation and is there anything you wanted to clear up?” the host asked.

“Um, I would just say that — my goodness,” Hough, 31, began. “I just believe that and value at the highest regard that everybody has a voice and should be heard, first and foremost.”

The former Dancing With the Stars pro continued, “And then I believe that the paradigm of the workplace and how you do business and work with people now, it’s shifting, and I think that the people that really want to see change happen are going to authentically and positively… do that. And so that’s all I really have to say about that.”

A Variety report published last Wednesday claimed Hough and Union supposedly received excessive notes about their physical appearance. While Union was allegedly told her hairstyles were “too black” for the AGT audience, Hough reportedly received criticism on hair, makeup and wardrobe, “which impacted her morale and led to tensions,” per Variety.

Hough denied the claims to Variety in a statement while touting her excitement for her upcoming NBC Christmas specials. When asked by People Now if she’s been able to regain her confidence since leaving the show she replied, “I’m good.”

“I know who I am, and as egocentric as this may sound, I totally and utterly love myself,” she added. “And so I choose to, with whatever I do, just take all the lessons that I’ve learned and add them to my vocabulary and move forward.”

Julianne continued, “And there’s so many projects that I’m doing with NBC that I’m really excited about and, like, just what the future holds and I think that’s one thing, too… As long as I stay authentic in who I am and everybody else involved also stays connected to who they are, that’s all that matters and not trying to please or have a perception of what you think people want to hear, and just staying true.”

The Houghs, who are executive producers on their specials, said they made sure to create a “fun” and “safe” culture on set.

“One thing that we always do before we start, we [get] every film operator, sound, grip, lighting, dancer, every single person involved, and we say, ‘We love you all, we appreciate every one of you, we value every single person,'” Derek explained. “We create a fun environment. We want it to be fun, we want it to be safe.”

“And when you do that, the people that work with you also then feel encouraged and empowered to spread it on, too,” Julianne added. “When they leave this set and this experience with us, they’ve had a great one and whatever project they work on again, now they’re paying it forward, and that’s how change happens.”

[Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Dec. 4, 2019 at 5:34 p.m. ET and has been updated to include Deadline’s report.]

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The Model and Social Entrepreneur Preparing Us for the Robot Revolution




Photo: Courtesy of Sinead Bovell

Photo: Courtesy of Sinead Bovell

The model-multihyphenate has never been so ubiquitous — nor so multihyphenated, for that matter — as it is today, in this decade’s one final exhale. A career like that of Karlie Kloss, with her free coding camp and scholarship program for young women, Kode With Klossy, is fast becoming the rule and not the exception. Her colleagues are doubling down on everything from digital community-building — Adwoa Aboah with Gurls Talk — to, as ever, reality television.

Every once in a blue (sorry, cerulean) moon, fashion gives way to a certain stock of contemporary multihyphenate whose dynamic expertise in one field symbiotically contributes to that of another.

It’s why I connected with Sinead Bovell, a New York City-based model who also developed and founded an organization called WAYE, which plans to revolutionize the way young people learn about technology. For a business to “revolutionize” anything, it must be disruptive in a new and good-kind-of terrifying way, and that’s exactly what Bovell hopes will come out of hers. So far, she’s making great progress.

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