In 2019, Global Fashion Agenda reported that by 2030, the global apparel and footwear industry was estimated to grow 81%. That would place unprecedented strain on scarce resources. The luxury watch and jewellery sectors do not contribute nearly as much to the environmental crisis as fast fashion does, but with the sector’s significant combined business worth over $329bn according to McKinsey in 2019, it is imperative that as the purveyors of style that establish trend, luxury brands lead by example from the top.
With growing interest from consumers, luxury’s redefined narrative must include sustainability, no longer as a mere add-on or differentiator but rather firmly embedded in provenance. The watch you choose reflects your values and those of the manufacture, so, when you admire that watch on your wrist, consider the journey of its individual parts.
A paradigm shift requires a proactive approach with solutions that can be implemented at scale. As the African proverb tells us: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
The global Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030 was created in October 2021 by Cartier and Kering (Gucci Watches, Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo, Qeelin), and to date its growing membership includes Chanel Horlogerie Joaillerie, Montblanc, Rosy Blue and Swarovski.
“The Initiative demonstrates that collaboration is key, that we can set ambitious targets and leverage actions by working together. We have defined three pillars to build climate resilience, preserve resources, and foster inclusiveness in all supply chains worldwide. Kering also brings the experience and success we have from the Fashion Pact 2019,” said Julien Stervinou, head of sustainable innovation LAB for watches and jewellery at Kering during a discussion at Watches & Wonders 2022 (W&W 2022) in Geneva in April.
An open invitation to all players in the industry with a national or international footprint, Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO of Cartier International reiterated how the growing membership can only “strengthen global efforts towards a more sustainable industry. 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 deliver positive impact on the planet and its people.”
While the members have set tangible targets, the initiative strongly commits to transparency with the requirement to report on progress on a regular basis. It will also support members in meeting growing expectations of stakeholders, including consumers, civil society, and regulators, of exemplary environmental, social and ethical practices. A shake-up is overdue. Even the Responsible Jewellery Council with its more robust standards does not disclose information on certification, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), and does not require members to publish audits or make noncompliance or measures available to consumers.
While all of Cartier’s business partners in the supply chain are monitored through a comprehensive audit programme established in 2007, in HRW’s “The Hidden Cost of Jewelry” report 2020, most respondents including Cartier ranked only “moderate” for “taking some important steps towards responsible sourcing”. Hopefully, the new Initiative 2030 with its strict certification and report-back requirements, will see them strengthen their rankings in the near future.
Busy with the initiative while also creating the array of novelties for W&W 2022, we now know why Cartier has been relatively quiet until now. It was difficult to choose a feature piece this month from a line-up including a mystérieuse Pasha, a playful Métiers-crafted version of my favourite Crash, and the sensational cushion-shaped Coussin de Cartier collection decorated with waves of colourful inverted gemstone studs.
But to add to the celebratory spirit, the 100th anniversary of the Tank Chinoise is so exquisitely acknowledged through the yellow gold Privé novelty and the mystery of its skeleton movement within its new black and red lacquered dial. Like peering through a traditional Chinese window, its open-worked dial reveals the manually would in-house calibre 9627 MC, which was developed exclusively for this piece. Limited to 100 pieces, its black lacquered horizontal bars straddle the characteristic brancards of the new 39.5mm by 29.2mm case. The crown is set with a faceted sapphire, and a semi-matt black and red alligator leather strap completes the package. Also available in two platinum novelties, one set with 161 brilliant-cut diamonds.
POA. Cartier.com or 011-666-2800.
• From the May edition of Wanted, 2022.