IWC Schaffhausen combines precision engineering with exclusive design to produce finely crafted watches that last for generations. If treated well, a mechanical watch might tick forever – some of our watches are still keeping time after 150 years. The long life of our products is matched by our long-term thinking. By managing our social and environmental impacts responsibly, we aim to ensure that our watches and our business practices add value to society.
Following the release of IWC Schaffhausen’s second sustainability report, actor and producer Cate Blanchett connected virtually with IWC CMO Franziska Gsell to discuss sustainability. Sharing a mutual interest in the topic, they talked about IWC’s approach to actively managing its environmental and social impact, which has earned the brand a leadership role in sustainable luxury watchmaking.
Read more about our commitment to having a positive social and environmental impact in our 2020 Sustainability Report.
IWC Schaffhausen manages social and environmental impacts through the oversight of our Sustainability Committee.
This Committee is made up of representatives who are responsible for every aspect of IWC’s business.
Together, IWC’s CEO and Sustainability Committee set the organization’s sustainability targets and activities. Every two years, the Committee provides a detailed review of its work, in IWC’s Sustainability Report.
What we aim for
Targets provide a measurable roadmap for our actions. We work to a two-year cycle, while also recognizing that ensuring a positive social and environmental impact is a long-term undertaking.
Our 2022 targets are:
Double the share of women in management positions compared to a 2017 baseline
RJC Chain of Custody certification of watch components
Purchase 100 per cent renewable energy globally
Develop and implement a Green IT strategy
Phase out purchase of non-FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified forestry products
Develop and pilot a blueprint for sustainable events
Maintain “Great Place to Work” certification
Achieve Equal Pay certification
Double IWC's annual corporate volunteering hours compared to a 2020 baseline
IWC operates in Switzerland, a country with high standards of environmental protection, social justice, and compliance with laws and regulations. It is through sourcing that IWC is most at risk of contributing to a negative impact. IWC manages this risk by maintaining strong relationships with trusted suppliers, and working to establish traceability throughout the supply chain.
The majority of IWC’s suppliers are based in Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe. IWC’s supply chain managers regularly meet with suppliers, alternately in Schaffhausen and at suppliers’ premises. Trusted relationships are vital to our supply chain management. Our Supplier Code of Conduct and Supply Chain policy can be accessed through the Due Diligence Report, further below.
Responsible Jewellery Council
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is a non-profit industry association for the watch and jewellery sector. By purchasing gold, platinum group metals (PGM) and diamonds only from RJC-certified suppliers, IWC can be assured of not sourcing products tainted by conflict, human rights abuses, child labour, or significant environmental damage. IWC has been an RJC member since 2014, and in 2020 became the first luxury watch brand to be audited to the RJC’s stringent 2019 COP standard.
Developing new materials is part of IWC’s brand heritage. Research into new materials for watch straps is currently ongoing, with a life cycle assessment approach being adopted as far as possible. This means evaluating environmental and social impacts at every stage of a material’s lifespan to ensure that solving a problem in one area doesn’t create an adverse impact in another.
At IWC Schaffhausen we work to manage the environmental impact not only of our own operations, but also of our sourcing decisions, community investment, and the choices made in our role as an employer. Increasingly, environmental impact is also factored into planning marketing and events, client experience opportunities, and sponsorships. See our 2020 Sustainability Report for detailed information about our environment impact.
In 2018, we redesigned our watch boxes to meet our 2020 target “reduce the average volume and weight of primary packaging by 30 percent compared to 2017”. By designing smaller, higher quality packaging with customer needs in mind, IWC has created a new long-lasting product and shown that ‘luxury’ does not have to mean ‘excess.’ The new boxes contain 90% less plastic than previously, and 80% of the plastic remaining is recycled plastic. We aim to increase this figure to 100% in future.
Forests play a critical role in maintaining the health of our planet. To avoid contributing to the social and environmental harm caused by illegal logging and deforestation, IWC aims to source only FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified forestry products. In 2018, we changed our logo on our shopping bags from silver to black, so that the bags could be recycled by customers after use – these bags are also made from FSC-certified, 100% post-consumer waste.
Marketing and events
IWC has developed sustainable events guidelines to enable marketing and events that have a more positive social and environmental impact. We increasingly strive to ensure materials are reused, either by sourcing items via rental, and impacts of events will increasingly be monitored, measured and addressed.
I.T. generates a vast and growing proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, and we all can improve our environmental impact via our I.T. choices. Ensuring I.T. choices benefit or minimize harm to the environment is ‘Green I.T.’ By 2022, IWC will be implementing a Green I.T. strategy.
IWC recognizes that its choices as an employer provide the chance to have a positive impact on the environment, and local communities. In 2019, IWC became the first luxury watchmaker to be awarded “Great Place to Work” ™ certification in Switzerland, demonstrating high levels of engagement and the creation of a culture of trust.
Working at IWC Schaffhausen
IWC aims to create an ideal workplace. Employees’ well-being, health, training and development, and safety are supported at every level of the company. Read more in our 2020 Sustainability Report, including stories from employees with ties to IWC that go back generations.
Diversity and Inclusion
Recognizing that good intentions alone aren’t enough to bring meaningful change, IWC is implementing a structured long-term program to increase all aspects of diversity and inclusion in our organization. Read more in our 2020 Sustainability Report, and watch this space for updates on our progress.
IWC aims to have a positive social and environmental impact by investing in communities locally and globally. We do this through direct support of partner organizations, building on our long-standing relationships, as well as through our corporate volunteering activities, and by sponsoring a variety of initiatives in our hometown, Schaffhausen.
We encourage all of our employees to take part in corporate volunteering. Globally, we encourage employees to volunteer with Be My Eyes, and in Schaffhausen, we organize “Forest Days” with the Forest Stewardship Council. Our colleagues around the world also organize their own local volunteering initiatives.
IWC’s social and environmental impact commitments
Through Richemont Group, IWC is a member of the Swiss Better Gold Association, as well as the Global Compact Network Switzerland, an association of Swiss companies implementing and working to strengthen acceptance of the UN’s ten Global Compact Principles. In addition to supporting these ten principles, IWC recognizes the importance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint for a better future, and aligns in particular to SDGs 5, 8, 12 and 13. IWC also directly supports organizations working to achieve UN SDGs 4, 14 and 15.
United Nations Global Compact Network Switzerland
Responsible Jewellery Council
Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
System of Warranties
Swiss Better Gold Association
BSR’s Responsible Luxury Initiative
Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastics Economy Global Commitment