Date — 6 February, 2012
Watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has joined forces with Laureus, an organization that combines sport and social commitment at the very highest level. Every year Laureus presents the Laureus World Sports Awards to the best sportsmen and sportswomen from all over the globe, while the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation uses sport as a means of helping to give children and adolescents a better future.
The man at the helm of IWC Schaffhausen has no fears for the future of the Swiss watchmaking company. “The IWC brand is more successful today than ever before,” says CEO Georges Kern. And the company is using its strength to empower young people in challenging social situations. Since 2005, IWC Schaffhausen has been one of the driving forces behind Laureus, an organization established in 2000 by two successful international companies, Richemont and Daimler. Daimler is represented by its Mercedes-Benz brand, while Richemont, which unites numerous well-known brands in the watch, jewellery and writing instrument industries, selected IWC Schaffhausen as its representative. The watch manufacturer has been making high-quality timepieces since 1868 under the motto “Probus Scafusia” – “Craftsmanship made in Schaffhausen”. Sports watches are one of IWC’s most important segments besides horological specialities. In 2008 Vodafone, the world’s leading mobile telecommunications company, entered into a 5-year agreement to support the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation as a Global Partner.
Laureus has two key missions: The first of these is the support offered by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation to projects all over the world which use sport to help young people in difficult social situations to help themselves. The second is its annual Laureus World Sports Awards, given to the world’s most outstanding sports performers. The mission of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is to utilize the power of sport to address social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports-related community development initiatives, using sport as a tool for social change.
Taking responsibility with social commitment
Georges Kern explains the company’s motivation to adopt this commitment as follows: “The privileged people on this planet – and we are among them – must do something to help those who are socially, physically or economically disadvantaged.” This clearly does not only apply to individuals but also to the economy as a whole. “We as a company bear a social responsibility.” And the company carries out these responsibilities not only through the overarching Laureus Global Foundation, but also through a direct commitment with the national Laureus Sport for Good Foundations. This may take the form of additional financial subsidies or the support from IWC’s local employees. As the founder of the Laureus Foundation Switzerland, IWC Schaffhausen is particularly committed to supporting the Swiss branch of the foundation.
IWC gained its first experience of social sponsorship through its support of the Cousteau Society, which was founded in 1974 by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the legendary diver and underwater filmmaker, and whose central objective is to preserve the foundations for life in the world’s oceans. Another important part of IWC’s commitment to the environment is its partnership with the Charles Darwin Foundation, which is based on the Galapagos. This scientific organization protects and maintains the incomparable diversity of species on the Galapagos Islands, thus helping to preserve humanity’s global heritage.
The top man at IWC explains this commitment as follows: “Today, people expect companies to give them authenticity and to represent genuine values.” Environmental responsibility and solidarity with underprivileged individuals are two of those values. It is the sustainability principle that is becoming increasingly important for society and, ultimately, for potential customers. In the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which helps underprivileged children and adolescents to help themselves, IWC has also found the ideal partner for an active form of social commitment.
Combining top-level sport with charity
In the case of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, in over 90 projects worldwide almost 1.5 million children and adolescents have been helped since its inception and have benefited from the commitment of the two corporations. “The major strength of this Foundation is the combination of charity and sport at the very highest level,” says Georges Kern. Ultimately, one of the main supports of the organization is the Laureus World Sports Academy. “This consists of the most important sports personalities in the world,” Kern points out – not without pride – adding the rhetorical question, “Where else – apart from Laureus – will you find names like Mark Spitz, Edwin Moses and Boris Becker working together to the same end?” Between them, the Academy members account for over 100 Olympic medals, 100 world championship titles and 200 world records.
If only for this reason, IWC’s commitment to Laureus represents a unique chance for the company, explains the CEO. As a manufacturer of top-quality sports watches, IWC Schaffhausen already has a close affinity with sports stars of the past and present. It is undoubtedly a huge honour for the watch manufacturer to work so closely with such successful and socially committed sportspeople and stars. It is also significant that the Academy is made up of more than 20 different nationalities, as well as a wide range of races, cultures and religious beliefs. Georges Kern sees this as yet another symbol that sport is able to surmount the boundaries between nations, races, cultures and religions. Or, as Nelson Mandela once so succinctly expressed it: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.”
Underprivileged children interact with sports stars
Academy members were close to their public while still active at their sports’ elite level. Today, they maintain this closeness by regularly visiting projects organized by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. By doing so, they give the projects public significance and at the same time indicate to the children and adolescents involved that society supports them. At the same time, these encounters with the stars leave a lasting, positive impression on the young people. Any youngster who has had a chance to run against Edwin Moses, play tennis with Boris Becker or kick a football with Bobby Charlton is not going to forget it in a hurry.
In the time that IWC Schaffhausen has been involved with Laureus, Georges Kern has spoken to many of the Academy members. And he hears the same sentiment repeated time and time again – “I’d like to give back something for everything that sport has given me.” This explains why the Laureus sporting legends are prepared to donate their time to travel around the world each year doing what they can to support the various projects.
Schaffhausen, February 2012 – With a limited special edition for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, IWC Schaffhausen is showing its support for the sixth time to children and adolescents who are confronted with the most trying conditions in the course of their everyday lives. The watch manufacturer is launching the Portofino Chronograph in characteristic Laureus blue as a symbol of hope for a better future.
“As a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, IWC Schaffhausen is launching another watch with a mission that goes well beyond keeping the exact time,” says CEO Georges Kern. “The Portofino Chronograph Edition Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is an ambassador for children and young people from all over the world who lead lives that are far from blessed and are in urgent need of our support. We are able – and willing – to lend a helping hand.” Since 2005, the Schaffhausen based company has been a driving force behind Laureus, which supports over 90 projects worldwide that give socially underprivileged children and adolescents the hope of a better life and show them ways of helping themselves. Every
year, in keeping with a revered tradition, IWC Schaffhausen selects a model from its collection as a means of supporting the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. In 2012, it is the Portofino Chronograph’s turn to sustain this sport-inspired range of watches.
The watch that gives fresh heart
The Portofino Chronograph Edition Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in stainless steel is available in a limited edition of 2,500 watches. The exclusive timepiece in the hallmark shade of blue combines understated elegance with a distinctive sporting flair and is a perfect example of successful design and modern technology. The stopwatch elements have been so skillfully integrated that the simplicity typical of the Portofino is retained. The chronograph dial, too, is equally restrained without sacrificing any of its functionality. The aggregate timing displays are joined by a small seconds at “9 o’clock”, which elegantly counterbalances the day and date displays on the opposite side of the dial. The Portofino Chronograph Edition Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is powered by the tried and tested 79320 calibre with a 44-hour power reserve and automatic winding with a ballbearing rotor. A special engraving embellishes the back of the case. This year, in keeping with tradition, IWC Schaffhausen organized its annual children’s drawing competition among all the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation projects worldwide. The subject “Time to inspire” motivated children and young people all over the world, aged between 4 and 16, to take part. The jury finally chose an illustration by 7-year-old Kumara Wadu Parami Apsara from Sri Lanka, who is part of the Seenigama Sport for Life project. The young girl, who was born exactly a month before the devastating tsunami, took inspiration from the subject to depict four young girls happily playing and enjoying themselves without a care in the world. The winning entry is engraved into the case back of the special edition and serves as a reminder that part of the proceeds from sales will help children all over the world come to terms with their difficulties and find renewed courage despite all the setbacks and losses they have suffered.
Sri Lanka struggles to create a new life
The last three decades in Sri Lanka have been marked by fear and suffering. A 30-year civil war that ended only in 2010 destroyed a large proportion of the island and violently ripped many communities apart. The effects of the horrendous tsunami that hit in December 2004 are still keenly felt, even 7 years later. In April 2005, 4 months after the catastrophe, representatives of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation first paid a visit to the devastated southern province of Sri Lanka around Galle. Under the leadership of cricketing legend and Laureus World Sports Academy member Sir Ian Botham, the team looked into ways of using sport to give children and adolescents in the crisis stricken region something they could count on and use, to make a large contribution to rebuilding the country.
Following its visit, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation began cooperating with the locally active Foundation of Goodness and set up the Seenigama Sport for Life project as a means of actively supporting the region. While the first priority was to heal the mental wounds and rebuild the country and its infrastructure after the tsunami, the focus today is on a long-term commitment. The Seenigama Sport for Life project offers coaching in cricket, volleyball, swimming, basketball and badminton from which more than 1,400 children and young people in eight village schools now benefit. Sport is also used as a means of tackling the many social problems, and this is having a positive effect on the entire region. The Foundation of Goodness has also extended its efforts to the north of the country. It is the only non-governmental organization involved and, together with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, is fostering post-war development in Sri Lanka.
New sports facilities are being built in the former wartorn zone of Mankulum in the north of Sri Lanka. In March 2011, Ian Botham paid a visit to the project region, which is still plagued by landmines. “Sri Lanka has had to face a number of challenges over the years including the tsunami and conflict, and I never cease to be inspired by the strength of the human spirit to deal with the challenges that affect communities,” said a visibly moved Ian Botham. Sport will continue to play a key role in the attempt to have a positive influence on the lives of as many children and adolescents as possible in Sri Lanka and to pave the road to a better future.
Together against poverty
Seenigama Sport for Life is just one of over 90 worldwide projects supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. A charitable foundation, it has already assisted over 1.5 million children and adolescents who are victims of poverty, homelessness, war, violence, discrimination, drug addiction, racism and HIV/Aids. IWC Schaffhausen is a Global Partner and worldwide representative of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. With the support of the Laureus World Sports Academy, an association of sports legends who between them hold over 100 Olympic medals, 100 world championship titles and 200 world records, the aim is to help children and young people find a way out of drugs, poverty and violence.
Department Manager Public Relations
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