"Gold and gems are not solely a source of happiness: people and the environment can suffer from the consequences of mining and gold refining when these are undertaken irresponsibly,” said Caroline Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, the Swiss heritage jewelry brand. Over the past five years, the company has been championing the issue of sustainability, demonstrating that social responsibility can be an integral part of the luxury sector. And it has now committed to expand its environmental, social and sustainable practices even further.
During a presentation at this year’s Baselworld, the world’s largest fair for watches and jewelry, Chopard announced that it would be transitioning to 100% ethically sourced jewelry and watches by July 2018. In a move backed by long term celebrity supporters of the brand, including Eco-Age’s Livia Firth, Scheufele, together with Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, pledged that from this summer, the gold used in its products would be responsibly sourced from one of two traceable routes; artisanal freshly-mined gold from small-scale mines participating in the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), Fair-mined and Fairtrade schemes, or the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) Chain of Custody gold, through Chopard’s partnership with RJC-certified refineries.
“As a family business committed to traditional values, we feel obligated to combat these negative aspects,” said Caroline Scheufele, commenting on the reputation the industry has had for its past practices. And it was after joining the RJC back in 2012 that Chopard first began to make sure the environment is not excessively burdened by the effects of gold mining, and that the people who work in its mines are treated fairly, with social justice.
This in turn led the company to initiate ‘The Journey To Sustainable Luxury’ project the following year, in partnership with sustainable brand consultancy Eco-Age. The multi-year program of sustainable change sets new environmental and social standards for jewelry and watchmaking, beginning at the start of the supply chain, and focuses on issues such as the respectful sourcing and traceability of raw materials.
Chopard then went on to premiere the first Green Carpet Collection at the Cannes Film Festival, a new fine jewelry collection that relied exclusively on Fair-mined gold, and subsequently launched the world’s first watch made from Fair-mined gold in 2014.
“Now something that we believe is very important has begun moving," said Scheufele. “When one talks about luxury or about wanting to treat oneself to something beautiful, many customers nowadays want to be sure that they buy products which were manufactured under the best possible working conditions and with social responsibility.”