We can all work for truth and beauty

I wish I was a verb “to trust” and never let you down (“Wishlist”, Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam)


What does ‘sustainability’ mean? There are many definitions, but the one I prefer is focused on the future. According to the definition coined in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in the Brundtland Report, sustainable development is a form of development that is capable of “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.


On 1 August 2018, the Earth exhausted the natural resources available for the current year. This day is known as the ‘Overshoot Day’: it is not a fixed date, but one that falls earlier every year (in the seventies, the planet used to be enough to serve our annual needs until 29 December). As things stand today, we need the resources of the equivalent of 1.7 times those of the planet Earth if we are to maintain our population. And that is utterly unsustainable. Either future generations will have to lose no time finding other planets to exploit… or we shall have to find ways to slow down.


The risks we are running may still seem to be in the distant future, and changing tack is not always easy. In such a context, firms are the first to have to recognise their responsibilities. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified for global development by the United Nations are a clarion call for everyone: for governments, for enterprise, for all of us. And many firms are responding.

A few days ago, London hosted the Positive Week, an event devoted to luxury sector brands committed to generating a positive impact on the planet. The event was organised by Positive Luxury, whose aim is to inspire people to buy conscientiously and brands to act with awareness, building a community of #brandtotrust.


To trust… believing that something is real.

Relying, feeling safe and quiet… what really makes us feeling like that? Believing in human relations is complicated, trust in institution is well-nigh impossible, believing in those who guide the world is almost impossible. Modernity is liquid, uncertain we are free but vulnerable at the same time. The fake news phenomenon is so enormous that it can easily influence the way a whole country votes. We are accustomed to lies but we never stop looking for the truth, we look for a light to follow. Brands can shed light where the night looks darker.

Man has a natural inclination to search for a meaning for his life here on Earth and his habits of consumption are one of the ways that help us construct that meaning. Now more than ever before. Our sense of belonging and the trust we put in one brand rather than another says something about who we are. And trust is something that has to be earned and above all maintained.


We choose a fragrance according to the immediate emotion that it reawaken in us, but also considering the relation that we build with the brand and the values it communicates. And in niche perfumery the closeness and the human contact are at the basis of the purchase experience.


Sustainable development means instill trust once again.

It is not anymore enough for brands to tell us stories: they also have to be. The sustainability we need is certainly environmental but it is also social and human.


Industry has to identify targets, find ‘something more fascinating, a destination or a vocation’… and this is particularly true for the luxury sector, which thrives on inspiration and aspirations.

Being sustainable implies believing “in spiritual values, in the values of science, in the values of art, in the values of culture, in the ideals of justice… and above all in man, in his divine flame, in his possibility to rise up and break free” (Adriano Olivetti, from his speech to his workers on the occasion of the inauguration of his new production plant in Pozzuoli in 1955).


Sustainability is sustaining humankind in their strenuous attempt to stay human.


Sii dolce con me. Sii gentile…

(Mariangela Gualtieri, “Bestia di gioia”)


Sii dolce con me. Sii gentile.

E’ breve il tempo che resta. Poi

saremo scie luminosissime.

E quanta nostalgia avremo

dell’umano. Come ora ne

abbiamo dell’infinità.

Ma non avremo le mani. Non potremo

fare carezze con le mani.

E nemmeno guance da sfiorare


Una nostalgia d’imperfetto

ci gonfierà i fotoni lucenti.

Sii dolce con me.

Maneggiami con cura.

Abbi la cautela dei cristalli

con me e anche con te.

Quello che siamo

è prezioso più dell’opera blindata nei sotterranei

e affettivo e fragile. La vita ha bisogno

di un corpo per essere e tu sii dolce

con ogni corpo. Tocca leggermente

leggermente poggia il tuo piede

e abbi cura

di ogni meccanismo di volo

di ogni guizzo e volteggio

e maturazione e radice

e scorrere d’acqua e scatto

e becchettio e schiudersi o

svanire di foglie

fino al fenomeno

della fioritura,

fino al pezzo di carne sulla tavola

che è corpo mangiabile

per il mio ardore d’essere qui.

Ringraziamo. Ogni tanto.

Sia placido questo nostro esserci –

questo essere corpi scelti

per l’incastro dei compagni

d’amore. nei libri.




Be gentle with me. Be kind.

Short is the time that remains to us. Then

we shall be trails of bright light.

And great shall be our nostalgia

of humanity. As we now have

of infinity.

But we shall have no hands. No hands to

be able to caress.

Nor cheeks to stroke


Nostalgia for imperfection

Will swell our lucent photons.

Be gentle with me.

Tend to me with consideration.

Take the care of crystals

with me and also with yourself.

What we are is more

precious than works sealed away in vaults:

it is affective and fragile. Life needs

a body to be and you, be gentle

with every body. Touch lightly:

lightly place your foot

and take care

of every mechanism of flight

of every leap and twirl

and ripening and root

and running water and jerk

and pecking and opening or

vanishing of leaves

until the phenomenon

of blossoming,

until the piece of meat on the table

an edible body

for my urge to be here.

Let’s give thanks. Every now and then.

Let our existence here be placid –

this being chosen bodies

for interlocking companions

of love. In books.



Gualtieri M., Sii dolce con me. Sii gentile, da Bestia di Gioia

Olivetti A., Ai lavoratori







A cura di Beatrice Balzarotti – master’s degree in Anthropology & Ethnology. She studies the forms of communication in their cultural framework, with a sensorial and emotional perspective.