The Prince of Wales Charles and the Italian fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli came together at the Rome G20 Summit to discuss climate change and “Universal Humanism”

Text by: Gianmarco Gronchi

Editing by: Domenico Costantini

Last week, the G20, the summit of the world’s leaders, took place in Rome to discuss political strategies and international issues. One of the major topics discussed was the climate, which is now at the center of economic and political debate, and a topic of affection, especially for the younger generation. The fact that the topic now has a strong specific weight in the international debate is clear even to those who influence contemporary geopolitical balances. And fashion, of course, is not standing idly by.

It is no coincidence, then, that during the G20, at the invitation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the Prince of Wales Charles, who has been working for years to combat the growing environmental crisis caused by climate change, also spoke. In January 2020, Charles launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), a network of global CEOs working together to build prosperous and sustainable economies that generate long-term value through the balanced integration of natural, social, human and financial capital.

Speech by the Prince of Wales Charles to the World's Great Leaders on the occasion of the G20

Speech by the Prince of Wales Charles to the World’s Great Leaders on the occasion of the G20

The aim of the SMI is to encourage and help large companies and economic institutions to decarbonise, achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions and sustain biodiversity. The SMI was accompanied by the Terra Carta, defined as “a charter that provides a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to move towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of Nature combined with the transformative power, innovation and resources of the private sector.”

The SMI was at the heart of Charles’ address to the world’s political leaders. The Prince of Wales emphasised the willingness of business and finance to help in the fight against climate change. CEOs from over 300 global business leaders, in fact, are already part of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ convened by The Prince of Wales as part of his Sustainable Markets Initiative. Speaking about these important memberships, Charles said they “have shown how sensitive they are to the way both consumers and shareholders are demanding changes in the way companies behave”.

Brunello Cucinelli also spoke on the subject of public-private collaboration in the context of ecological transition. He joined Prince Charles and was awarded a prize at the G20 for his commitment to a model of “Humanistic Capitalism”. In his speech, Cucinelli wished that political leaders could work profitably in the name of safeguarding the planet. He then went on to set out his perhaps utopian vision of “Universal Humanism”. 

Prince Charles and Brunello Cucinelli

Prince Charles and Brunello Cucinelli

In this regard, Cucinelli also presented his next project, the creation of  “The Universal Library of Solomeo”, in the medieval village where the fashion house is based.The inspiration came to Cucinelli from Ptolemy I, creator of the library of Alexandria. Cucinelli’s project seems challenging, but architect Massimo de Vico Fallani seems to be already at work and there is talk of a possible opening in 2024.

Front elevation of the Universal Library of Solomeo, drawing on paper. COURTESY OF BRUNELLO CUCINELLI

Front elevation of the Universal Library of Solomeo, drawing on paper.

Cucinelli’s “Humanistic Capitalism”, therefore, can only be based on respect for and harmony with nature and love of culture. Economy and fashion, therefore, still side by side to build a better future. A future that can no longer be governed only by the laws of profit, but also by those of the soul. After all, as Cucinelli himself said, quoting King Ptolemy, “books showed me the way of life; when I grew up, life made me understand the content of books”.