Bally is a Swiss based luxury brand that was established in 1851. It was founded by Carl Franz Bally as a family-run factory but became a large, luxury brand by the 1900s. Bally industrialized its processes and expanded its stores, now including worldwide shipping. Bally claims to merge “design, sustainability, innovation, and craftsmanship” in order to create one-of-a-kind products while “honoring the elements as a primary source of inspiration” for their collections through tangible actions, such as mountain preservation through the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation (est. in 2020). Bally states that they are committed to transparency and that their dedication to social responsibility and respect for the environment has been intrinsic to their identity well before terms like "sustainability" or "corporate social responsibility'' existed due to a strong culture of wanting to do right by people, their products and the planet. They have created a promising four pillar sustainability plan rooted in transparency, quality, collaboration and progress, in order to help mitigate their environmental footprint and promote social and economic well-being in compliance with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and The Fashion Pact, of which Bally is a signatory. However, most of these changes, which are set for this year, 2025 and 2030, have not been implemented yet and their current practices are far from sustainable and eco friendly. Although Bally claims to be a transparent, sustainable company, there is virtually no information available about their production and raw material cultivation process. Moreover, they use their activism and work in the alps and surrounding environment to greenwash their company’s actions in order to present a false conception of their environmental friendliness, or lack thereof. Due to this, I have awarded Bally 0.25 planets.
The Breanne shoulder bag is made of leather and metal, however, there is no indication of where the leather or metal comes from. This is extremely concerning considering that leather production can pollute the environment with carcinogenic chemicals, such as formaldehyde. Additionally, each year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals; of which most come from India and China where there are very relaxed and rarely enforced laws on animal abuse and cruelty. Bally provides no indication or information about what animal the leather comes from, for all we know, it could be from a dog or sheep (which sadly, is common in the industry). Most animals used to make leather are severely mistreated, live in horrible conditions, and die excruciating deaths. While one of Bally’s sustainability goals is to be able to trace 90% of its leather to reputable farms by 2025, how many more hundreds of thousands of animals will die before they reach their goal?
Bally products are said to be “handcrafted with consistency and care” in Caslano, Switzerland, with longevity in mind. Yet they have factories in which their employees process the raw materials in order to prepare them for production. There is no information available on the harvesting, processing or production process that their products undergo before being stitched together by their artisans. This lack of transparency goes against all the claims they make on their website and is a prime example of greenwashing. A good example of sustainable production in this industry would include obtaining the raw materials needed from ethical and traceable local farms, which would then be produced in a factory that treats their workers well, pays them fairly for their hard work, and provides good working conditions; as well as continuously checks to ensure these standards are being upheld and their employees are happy.
Bally’s team of multi-generational artisans based in Caslano, Switzerland, handcraft the styles we see on their webpage, yet the components are processed and produced in a factory, which the location of has not been transparently disclosed, before being assembled. It is important to note that in 2018, the JAB Holding Company sold a majority controlling stake in Bally to a Chinese materials conglomerate. This highlights a potential reason Bally may not want to disclose where their factory is in order to hide the fact that they use Chinese factories to produce their products; exposing that they are not in fact artisan, or sustainably sourced. Bally has a code of conduct and code of ethics where it (very broadly) ensures safe and acceptable working conditions for its employees. But again, there is no information available on how they are checking to make sure the conditions are being kept up to standard. There are also no details or pictures of the factory or their workers, which is definitely a red flag considering companies who actually do the good things they are claiming to do will want to provide evidence of it.