The French luxury group has joined forces with Cartier, owned by rival conglomerate Compagnie Financière Richemont, to launch the Watch and Jewelry Initiative 2030 in partnership with the Responsible Jewelry Council, marking its latest cross-sector alliance to implement industry-wide goals to protect the environment.
Unlike the Fashion Pact, launched in 2019 with 32 signatories, the Watch and Jewelry Initiative is starting small: In addition to Cartier, Kering’s watch and jewelry brands are joining. The division is comprised of jewelry brands Boucheron, Pomellato, DoDo and Qeelin, and watch brands Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux.
“The initiative is open to all watch and jewelry players with a national or international footprint that commit to dedicating their resources and energy to continuous improvement on sustainable business topics, and to developing a vision of excellence for the industry, no matter their starting point, market segment or position in the value chain,” Cartier and Kering said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
That means that like the Fashion Pact, the initiative will span high and low players, including brands, distributors and suppliers. Members must commit to progress in three areas — building climate resilience, preserving resources and fostering inclusiveness — and are required to report on progress on a regular basis.
Cartier and Kering built on an existing relationship: They’ve been partners in eyewear since 2017, in a deal that involved Richemont buying a 30 percent stake in Kering Eyewear. Kering and Richemont are also among the companies who joined an initiative this year to improve the traceability of colored gemstones.
The Watch and Jewelry Initiative 2030 aims to support the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, designed to achieve measurable progress by the end of the decade in areas from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap.
Cyrille Vigneron, president and chief executive officer of Cartier, said it had become clear that collective action was needed.
“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 collaborate on projects that deliver positive impact on the planet and its people,” he said in the statement.
Jean-François Palus, group managing director of Kering, said it dovetails with the group’s existing commitments. Since 2011, Kering has been quantifying nature into monetary values across its entire supply chain, using its Environmental Profit and Loss tool.
“At Kering, we believe that luxury is inseparable from the highest environmental and social standards, and that it is our responsibility, as leading luxury players, to initiate the changes that are needed to protect our planet,” Palus said.
“For watch and jewelry, just like for fashion, we believe that committing collectively to a common core of quantified environmental objectives focusing on a few themes is the best way to really have an impact,” he added.
Those joining the initiative must pledge to reduce carbon emissions with the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As a minimum commitment, they should engage in signing and submitting the Science Based Targets Initiative by 2022, the companies said.
Among the aims is to help vulnerable populations in the watch and jewelry industry value chain and contribute to low-carbon solutions for these communities.
New members should also pledge to measure and prioritize their impact on biodiversity and water across their sourcing of key raw materials. Going forward, they must ensure that supply chains are free of products sourced from ancient and endangered forests, and commit to restore habitats where mining and other extraction activities have occurred.
Brands are required to join the Responsible Jewelry Council and become certified in its code of practices — an international standard on responsible business practices for diamonds, colored gemstones, silver, gold and platinum group metals — in the following two years.
That includes supporting the certification of suppliers; eliminating the exposure of employees and nature to chemical risks; taking action in favor of diversity, equity and inclusion, and preserving craftsmanship.
Iris Van der Veken, executive director of the Responsible Jewelry Council, said she hoped all industry actors would get involved. “Business as usual is no longer an option,” she said.
The Fashion Pact launched by Kering two years ago now has 70 signatories, including high-street retailer H&M and Zara-owner Inditex; sportswear labels Adidas and Nike; American-based companies Capri Holdings Ltd., Gap Inc., PVH Corp., Ralph Lauren Corp. and Tapestry Inc.; European luxury groups Chanel, Hermès, Prada, Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani and Burberry, and Asia-based Fung Group.
One notable holdout is LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which believes it does not make sense to be lumped together with fast-fashion and sportswear brands, especially because its activities extend to areas as diverse as winemaking and hospitality. However, LVMH is a signatory of the colored gemstones initiative, known as the Gemstones and Jewelry Community Platform.