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Panerai’s energy transition
Point of View

Panerai’s energy transition

Monday, 22 October 2018
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

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3 min read

Panerai’s manufacture in Neuchâtel is widely considered to be a model in eco-responsible construction. We met its director, Jérôme Cavadini.

You were one of the first to begin your energy transition, in 2012. What were your motivations?

Jérôme Cavadini, director of the Panerai manufacture in Neuchâtel: Building a new manufacture was a unique opportunity to materialise an existing desire to take positive action for the environment in a sincere and visible way. We decided we would meet the highest energy efficiency standards there are, even if that meant a slight increase in costs. In terms of the natural environment, ever since its creation Panerai has had strong ties with water, and we are working on new models that will emphasise this aspect of our DNA.

Was this Panerai's decision and did Richemont leave you a free hand?

The Richemont group has a full-fledged SER policy [social and environmental responsibility] and expects its entities, and through them their suppliers, to respect stringent ethical and environmental charters. Our job is to work within this framework and at the same time propose actions that connect with our values and our history. Jean-Marc Pontroué, Panerai’s CEO, takes corporate social responsibility seriously and expects us to transpose this into every process.

Did you call on experts to guide you?

We consulted specialist engineers for the new manufacture, and it’s with them that we decided not to work towards any particular quality label but instead take the best of existing standards in Switzerland and in other countries too. The building doesn’t use fossil fuels, recycles rainwater and runs off hydroelectric power.

Are there any aspects you'd like to take further?

One point we’d like to develop is electricity from solar energy. Our machining department uses a lot of power and we’re looking into ways to produce that energy. We also want to invest in production tools that consume less energy, such as the last two CNC machines we bought.

Where are the most important changes taking place?

We’re in the middle of Industry 4.0, which means rethinking the tools, processes and standards we use. Today’s means of production are smaller, more efficient and pollute less. For example, HE-Arc [one of Switzerland’s top engineering schools] has developed a CNC machine no bigger than the coffee-maker you have in your kitchen, that shows great potential.

Does Panerai's corporate responsibility include people too?

Of course! One of our priorities is to guarantee the current and future employability of our staff. It’s already a given that digitalisation will cut down on the number of repetitive tasks, and at the same time will generate new functions that we have to prepare for, whether in production, engineering or logistics.

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