Corporate social responsibility

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—When expanding its production facilities, IWC Schaffhausen opted for innovative, resource-saving technologies

IWC’s environmental commitment

Sustainability, a commitment to the environment and active climate protection have a firm place in IWC Schaffhausen’s corporate philosophy. For years now, the company has been actively working to reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The results are impressive, and since summer 2007 IWC has been certified a climate-neutral company. The use of innovative production and building technologies combined with alternative energies has pushed down CO2 emissions by around 90 per cent. In addition to this, IWC rewards members of its workforce who contribute actively to climate protection in their private lives.
It all began many years ago with the search for an environmentally responsible solution to the planned expansion of production capacity. Two new buildings have been completed at IWC since 2003. Despite the 6000 sq.m of additional surface area and a significant increase in production, the use of modern, ecologically sound building technologies has kept energy consumption constant. Today, the company has a whole package of measures it can use to further optimise the energy balance in its premises.

New buildings featuring state-of-the-art technology

The two new buildings were designed specifically to reduce IWC’s CO2 footprint. The outer skin is a state-of-the-art construction consisting of double-walled, optimally insulated glass façades with an advanced ventilation concept. Estimates had shown that, without these structural improvements, IWC would generate about 750 metric tons of environmentally harmful CO2 each year. Following completion of the second new building at the end of 2008, the smart building technology system was regulating conditions in all the company’s premises. Since then, CO2 output has totalled just less than 20 metric tons per year, which is a reduction of more than 90 per cent. IWC’s forward-looking approach and its readiness to invest in environment-friendly technologies are also borne out by its heat recovery measures: the company uses residual heat from wastewater in Schaffhausen’s sewers as an energy source. At the heart of the system is a combination of cooling and heat pumps that are able to generate heat or cold alternately, or even simultaneously. A 60-metre exchange element integrated in the wastewater conduit extracts warmth from wastewater for heating purposes and conducts residual heat from production processes and the chilled ceilings into the sewage. Construction of the system, which is new for Switzerland and operates the whole year round, was subsidised by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. An additional system, which makes use of groundwater, provides an alternative means of heating and cooling the company’s premises and production facilities. IWC’s heating is provided mainly by environment-friendly heat pumps. Since 2007, the company’s electricity needs have been covered entirely by green hydroelectric energy and IWC has also installed a system that recycles rainwater to flush toilets.

—A reflection of nature: the glass façade of the eastern extension, which houses IWC CO2-neutral watch production facilities and is powered entirely by renewable energy

IWC has developed a scheme that fosters environmental awareness among its employees and rewards those who make individual efforts to reduce their own CO2 footprint

Neutral CO2 balance

IWC documents and reduces its CO2 emissions not only as regards its infrastructure but also down the entire value-added chain. The company adopts measures that are designed to reduce the CO2 emissions generated by suppliers, production sites, business trips and events. Wherever possible, for example, business trips have been replaced by videoconferences, and employees are obliged to archive business documentation in electronic form. IWC makes voluntary payments to compensate for emissions that cannot be eliminated entirely. The funds generated are channelled into potentially beneficial environmental projects in developing and emerging nations. Thanks to this commitment, IWC has been certified as a CO2-neutral company since 2007.
As impressive as these measures may be, the Swiss watch manufacturing company has other, even more ambitious, goals. IWC has developed a scheme that fosters environmental awareness among its employees and rewards those who make individual efforts to reduce their own CO2 footprint. The company offers its employees financial incentives to use public transport, to buy cars with lower CO2 emissions, and to use alternative energy sources or energy-saving technologies in their own four walls. Employees can calculate their personal CO2 emissions on the IWC intranet and compensate for excessive use through payments to a climate-related project. IWC doubles up all the money invested in the project by its workforce.
IWC is a member of the international Climate Group, an independent non-profit organisation, which works closely with governments and business leaders to generate intelligent strategies and technologies that reduce global emissions and drive forward a clean industrial revolution.

Taking pride in protecting the environment