LVMH Acquires Botswana Luxury Safari Camps, Joins High-Level UNESCO Conservation Effort

British actress, poet and filmmaker Greta Bellamacina boards the Orient Express, headed for Venice in a fashion journey that’s pure ‘Poetry in Motion’. Photographer Tom Craig is behind the lens with styling by Leith Clark for Harper’s Bazaar UK July 2019./ Hair by Sebastien Bascle

Now that LVMH owns the Venice Simplon Orient-Express and Belmond Hotels including Venice’s Hotel Cipriani, Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Cheval Blanc in Courchevel and over 40 other deluxe hotels and safari camps worldwide, expect to see an even more integrated fashion vision. Luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Céline, Givenchy and more will drop anchor with the increasing demand for unique experiences and travel in the luxury sector and among younger people.

The upcoming early fall trip on the Eastern & Oriental Express between Bangkok and Singapore — one officially dedicated to tiger conservation — is an excellent example of LVMH anchoring its image in conservation, the arts, and global culture.

In May, LVMH announced that they are teaming up with UNESCO, to work collaboratively on an intergovernmental scientific programme called the Man and Biosphere (MAB) biodiversity program.

MAB aims to safeguard biodiversity across the planet by working with a broad range of industries to help the UN achieve their Sustainable Development Goals. The scheme already operates in 686 biosphere reserves (areas comprising of terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems) in 122 countries to ensure their preservation.

EuroNews reports that the luxury fashion houses within the LVMH portfolio will all benefit from UNESCO’s “incomparable advice on sustainable sourcing for materials and manufacturing. In return, LVMH’s infrastructure resources will be available to be used as pilot sites for conservation, by MAB’s research projects.”

The collab will last for at least five years, with goals that include making the conglomerate more transparent in where and how it sources its materials and tracing for the public each house’s supply chain.

LVMH will also work with UNESCO on special events such as the Convention on Biological Diveristy in China, 2020.

In May LVMH announced that it has developed the AURA platform, developed with ConsenSys and Microsoft, allowing customers to trace the entire product history of a luxury product from raw matrials to the point of sale — and NEW info — all the way to second-hand markets.

Of particular interest to AOC, is LVMH’s acquisition of three safari lodges in Botswana: Belmond Kwai River Lodge, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge and the Belmond Eagle Island Lodge. We weren’t joking wondering aloud of Bernard Arnault will save Africa’s elephants — and especially in Botswana where the new president Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared a return to trophy hunting in his nation.

It IS a reality that elephants and the expanding needs and reach of farmers are colliding in Botswana. But Masisi’s decision in nothing less than a gut punch to conservationists and elephant lovers worldwide. We fully expect LVMH to roll up its sleeves to get involved in these kinds of challenges in the world of animal conservation.

There is a general fear that luxury consumers will turn to countries like Kenya, who are steadfast in their commitment to elephant conservation, and reject Botswana for this action against elephants, only complicated by the reality that President Masisi delivered footstools made of elephant legs to fellow leaders from other African countries in a summit around elephant conservation. Double gut-punch and a message to all us bleeding-heart elephant lovers about the boss man’s presidential authority.

Masisi must be a friend of the Trump family. We better check to be certain that Botswana’s new president didn’t extend a special invite to the bloodthirsty, trophy-hunting Trump sons to reopen the killing spree in his nation.

Arriving in the most exquisite city of Venice, we’re reminded that challenges abound there, too.; ‘Overtourism’ is a word to describe the plight of cities like Venice. Just last week, the New York Times posed the question: Put Off by Venice’s Crowds? Try the Oasis Next Door. Treviso, Venice’s quieter neighbor, can offer refuge.

The canals in Treviso actually flow, living up to this fashion editorial’s name ‘Poetry in Motion’.