Swiss luxury watches fail to meet environmental standards

Switzerland hosts renowned luxury watch and jewellery companies and is the world leader in the gold refining market. Keystone

The Swiss branch of the environmental organisation, WWF, has called on Swiss-based watch companies to take more responsibility for ecological and social impacts, notably the use of gold.

This content was published on December 19, 2018 - 10:11
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In its report analysing the 15 biggest watch brands, the WWF says its findings are highly worrying as most companies have done nothing to address and counter climate change.

“The results also show that few companies recognise their responsibility and that action and more transparency towards sounder environmental management are needed.”

The organisation criticises many brands as “non-transparent” or “latecomers” about sustainability issues, including due diligence, stakeholder management and supply chain management.

Only five companies – Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-Le Coultre, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin – achieved better results. Most of the others, including Swatch, Tissot, Omega, Longines as well as Breguet, were rated poorly.

However, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek, pointed out that his group had only recently opened its own gold foundry to improve its standard, according to a report by SRF public television.

The report focuses on the global value chain, particularly on the sourcing of critical raw materials, including gold.

The WWF says consumers can contribute to reducing the watchmaking industry’s environmental impact, notably by asking for time pieces made of recycled metals and purchasing certified watches.

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