Cars that represent the very pinnacle of luxury tend to be sustainable by their very nature. The use of exquisite veneers, the finest leather and quality metals are all designed to last a lifetime, while the supply chains from which they are derived are meticulously curated.
But that doesn’t mean the luxury industry can rest on its laurels, because consumer tastes are rapidly evolving and buyers are more eco-conscious than ever. Aine Campbell, a sustainable fashion advocate and co-founder of The Model Mafia, a group of models that use their influence to drive change within the fashion industry, believes that the current generation of consumers is the most sustainability-savvy to date.
“A Sustainable Fashion Blueprint Report from 2018 revealed that the younger generation puts issues of sustainability first when thinking about purchasing a product,” says Campbell. “They are the ones who are going to be buying more in the future, and they are already thinking of these topics, so I think this is a movement that will last.”
To celebrate its centenary year, Bentley released the stunning EXP 100 GT Concept, which not only looked at how future technologies will shape the driving experience, but also addressed issues of sustainability in the materials it used and the type of craftsmanship it employed.
“The one thing that we really hope when anyone sets foot inside the EXP 100 GT Concept is that they trust we have done the due diligence, that we have cared about the materials we have put in there and that we have gone to the Nth degree to make it a beautiful thing, but not to the compromise of a person, a company or the environment,” explains Cathy Bass, Colour and Trim Lead Designer at Bentley.
Step inside the vehicle and you’ll be greeted by a heady mix of traditional craftsmanship and cutting edge materials and technology. Reclaimed river wood is used for the veneers, the Gainsborough cotton damask textile used inside is sustainable, renewable and biodegradable, while the eco material Vegea, which uses a byproduct of the winemaking process to create a fully vegetal raw material, runs throughout the cabin.
“The traditional techniques used to create much of the interior of the concept car might seem limiting in today’s day and age, but these limitations promoted creativity within the team, and there’s an amazing opportunity to be creative using traditional methods across the wider luxury landscape,” explains Campbell.
The luxury market might be discerning and based on the notion of using only the finest materials and craftsmanship, but modern life means the very notion of luxury is changing. As our world becomes busier, more hectic and increasingly urbanised, access to nature is a key theme that runs throughout ideas of opulence.
“The best no longer just means the best quality or materials. For luxury buyers, it also means the best working practices and best sustainability message,” Campbell adds.
Bentley feels that the future of motoring is not only about harnessing the most sustainable materials to construct its upcoming vehicles, but to also ensure that nature and occupant well-being are a focus for anyone travelling inside. This is what it truly means to travel in luxury.
Find out more about Bentley by visiting bentleymotors.com