For luxury players, working towards sustainability has gone from a statement of intent to a necessity made all the more urgent as human pressure puts greater strain on Earth and citizens look to the corporate world to set an example. Who better than luxury, an industry that sells beauty and dreams, to lead the way in righting our environmental wrongs: proof that these companies are serious about the values they promote and credible vis-a-vis customers who increasingly expect the brands they buy to make a positive impact. In partnership with the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), Cartier, representing the Richemont group, and Kering have announced the Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030. The project is open to all watch and jewellery brands that commit to a common core of sustainability goals in three areas: build climate resilience, preserve resources and foster inclusiveness.
“As the watch and jewellery sector relies on Earth’s precious resources and people’s know-how around the world within its value chains, the imperative to act together in creating a more positive impact has become ever clearer,” said Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO of Cartier. “More than ever, we remain committed to share our common vision of a future where all Maisons, their suppliers and business partners are empowered to collaborate on projects that deliver positive impact on the planet and its people.” “The changes we are fighting for are essential for the future not only of the planet but of our industry itself,” added Jean-François Palus, Group Managing Director of Kering. This isn’t the first time that Kering, whose portfolio includes Boucheron, Pomellato, Gucci, Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin, has taken action in favour of sustainability. It spearheaded the 2019 launch of the Fashion Pact, a global coalition of brands in the fashion and textile industry with a commitment to projects focused on stemming global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.
This Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030 builds on existing projects, such as Science Based Targets, and the experience of organisations such as the RJC. It also incorporates newer areas of focus, including materials and business models, aimed at encouraging and enabling industry transformation. In practical terms, climate resilience commitments include decarbonising direct and indirect, owned and not-owned emissions. This can be achieved by implementing 100% renewable energy across operations by 2025 (extended to suppliers and distribution partners by 2030), adopting best practices for energy efficiency and by working towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions through greenhouse gas removals and investment in climate projects, especially the conservation and restoration of forest, coastal and marine ecosystems. The second goal of the Initiative is to ensure that the industry’s sourcing has a positive impact on nature, species and communities. As a minimum commitment by 2022, brands will be expected to measure and prioritise their impact on biodiversity and water across their sourcing of key raw materials, using a credible science-based framework.
Action plans to reduce water and biodiversity impacts by 2025 must ensure that “supply chains are free of products sourced from ancient and endangered forests and commit to restore habitats where mining and other extraction activities have occurred.” They must also “contribute to the development of local livelihoods for mining and farming communities that respect the balance of natural ecosystems.” For the third goal of inclusiveness, the minimum commitment is that brands join the Responsible Jewellery Council and become RJC Code of Practice certified in the following two years. An important aspect of this commitment is the preservation and transmission of craftsmanship and industry know-how. The last word goes to Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director of the RJC: “Business as usual is no longer an option. By working together we can greatly contribute to the urgent change needed to achieve the [United Nation’s] 17 Sustainable Development Goals and create a better, fairer world by 2030.”