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How watch companies are helping to save the planet –...
Watch Stories

How watch companies are helping to save the planet – Omega

Thursday, 12 November 2015
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Carol Besler

“Watches are functional art.”

Carol Besler covers watches and jewelry worldwide.

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4 min read

The perils of climate change and poor environmental policies are well documented. There are a number of ways we can help save our planet, and watch companies are getting involved in the solutions. This is the fourth in a series of articles that explores that involvement.

When Omega introduced its Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GoodPlanet GMT last year, it also announced it would be committing a portion of the proceeds to an organization called GoodPlanet The GoodPlanet Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of ecology, and to encourage conservation, revealing the beauty and fragility of the planet and its inhabitants through photographic exhibitions, film screenings, themed campaigns and other events.

“GoodPlanet appealed to us for many reasons,” says Omega president Stephen Urquhart. “Firstly, their key missions are based not only around raising awareness for our planet’s needs, but also taking action and making a tangible difference. When you look at some of the problems the world is facing, it’s sometimes easy to think ‘what can I do, I’m only one person,’ but GoodPlanet makes a concerted effort to inform and educate, so that everybody has an understanding of how they can work together and make a positive impact.”

Omega’s participation with GoodPlanet revolves around three main functions. Firstly, Omega is the main partner in the organization’s film work. “As I mentioned, raising awareness is one of the key missions, and Yann’s [founder Yann Arthus Bertrand] way of working ensures that we can produce high-quality films that are unique and thought-provoking,” says Urquhart. Omega participated in the filming of Planet Ocean, released on World Environment Day last June. The film takes viewers on a comprehensive, ground-breaking voyage across the world’s oceans, exploring the ancient but often fragile relationship that links marine life and humanity. Also produced was a Planet Ocean app that contains 80 profiles of different species of fish, arranged according to their regions of origin and current stock levels. It reviews different fishing techniques and the impact of each on the environment, making it possible to identify which species can be eaten without compromising ecosystems.

We ensure that a portion of our watch sales is donated to the cause.

Secondly, Omega has made a financial commitment to the organization. And finally, “we ensure that a portion of our watch sales is donated to the cause,” says Urquhart. “This comes from specific GoodPlanet models that we market to raise more funds. The money from these watch sales goes directly to the field projects we are currently working on.”

Omega has thus far collaborated with GoodPlanet on two conservation projects in Indonesia. “Time for the Planet” is a film about protecting the ecosystem and coral reefs in the northern region of Sulawesi. “I travelled with a team from Omega to the village of Bahoi, where half the inhabitants earn their living from fishing,” says Urquhart. “At a place like that, you see exactly how important the ocean is to the sustainability of our human population. This is what makes our partnership unique. We are just as deeply connected to these projects as GoodPlanet. It’s close to our hearts and we have a vested interest in every step. That’s something I’m incredibly proud of. And we’ve done the same thing again with a brand new project beginning in Africa. Details of that will come soon alongside our latest film project.”

Le Grand Trou Bleu, atoll de Lighthouse Reef, District de Belize, Belize (17°19’ N - 87°32’ O). Janvier 2012. © Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Altitude-Paris
A planet in peril

Here are a few facts about global warming that are prompting watch companies to get involved in conservation activities.

  • If heat-trapping carbon emissions aren’t reduced, average surface temperatures of the earth could increase by 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.
  • Scientists estimate that globally glaciers are losing 92 cubic kilometres of ice per year. At this rate, by the end of this century, there will be no ice in Iceland.
  • Because of the melting of glaciers, sea levels have risen between four and eight inches in the past 100 years and are projected to continue rising between 4 inches and 36 inches over the next 100 years.
  • A 36-inch increase in sea levels would swamp every city on the East Coast of the United States, from Miami to Boston. Worldwide, approximately 100 million people live within three feet of sea level.
  • Due to melting ice in the Arctic, polar bears may be gone from the planet in as little as 100 years. One-fourth of Earth’s species could be headed for extinction by 2050.
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