LVMH's perfume factories produce 12 metric tons of sanitiser gel in first week to help hospitals fight COVID-19

Christian Dior, Parfums Givenchy and Guerlain have swapped perfume for sanitiser in a bid to help French hospitals

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Three perfume factories owned by the prestigious LVMH GroupChristian Dior, Guerlain and Parfums Givenchy – underwent a dramatic shift in operations on 15 March, to become  mass-producers of hydroalcoholic gel amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The Group was inspired by a country-wide shortage in the sanitising gel, coinciding with the novel coronavirus dominating global newsreels, and so LVMH CEO Bernard Arnaud instructed his companies to take action. Immediately, LVMH began producing large quantities of the hydroalcoholic gel to be delivered free of charge to the French health authorities and, predominantly, to the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris. 

“We had the opportunity to be united,” said LVMH general secretary Marc-Antoine Jamet, who worked with pharmacists and laboratories to ensure the gel would be both anti-viral and anti-bacterial. “The cosmetics factories are very similar to pharmaceutical factories… That’s why we have diverted our production lines into this gel production.

“Mr Arnaud said that this free patronage will be done in the time and quantity required for Paris hospitals,” added Jamet. “Mr Arnaud had the pleasure to show LVMH’s solidarity, especially in his involvement to combat the epidemic.”

Describing a lack of action as “holding a gun to your foot”, it’s clear this wartime-like approach to fighting the spread of the deadly virus is a point of great pride for the Group’s employees who, by the end of the first week, had already produced 12 metric tons of sanitiser – each elegantly capped with the Dior logo, of course. >>

Related: Find the latest advice on COVID-19 from the NHS here

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It’s clear that LVMH’s dedication to practical measures – as well as financial donations – has inspired other fashion industry giants to step up to the plate, with Prada SpA, Giorgio Armani and Donatella Versace among those funding intensive care units in Italian hospitals. Bulgari, meanwhile, has focused its funding into vaccine research.

In the UK, cosmetics businesses and distilleries have also switched up their production to making highly effective hand sanitiser amid the global shortage. Michael Williams, CEO of The British Honey Company in Buckinghamshire, said in a statement: “This enhances our existing business model at the same time as assisting with the efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19. An alcohol-based sanitiser is vodka or gin at 70 % ABV made from denatured alcohol… Our expert distillery team have been working alongside our in-house microbiologist and an Oxford University chemist to develop and manufacture this new product.”

Cosmetics brand Pai Skincare, as well as Gin distilleries Verdant Spirits in Dundee, Psychopomp Micro-distillery in Bristol, and 58 Gin based in Hackney, London, have also began to produce sanitiser in high quantities, while popular independent beermaker BrewDog has added a ‘Punk Sanitiser’ to its range. The brewer’s CEO James Watt said on social media that he is “determined to do everything we can to try and help as many people as possible stay safe,” and added the sanitiser will be given away to local charities and community members in need in the company’s local Aberdeenshire.

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