PARIS — Big players in the watch and jewelry industry have taken strides to set and meet sustainability goals, and now it’s time to address the needs of small and medium enterprises.
“The 2030 agenda is about leaving no one behind,” stated Iris Van der Veken, executive director and secretary general of the Watches and Jewelry Initiative 2030 sustainability pact, which on Thursday unveiled a collaboration with the United Nationals Global Compact called the Small Medium Enterprise SDG 2023 Solutions Lab.
Estimates place the proportion of SMEs in the industry above 70 percent and many of the companies that fall under the category are exempt from existing regulations.
Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of institutional affairs at Kering, affirmed the need to collaborate with “all key stakeholders” in this pilot program, a further step in the watch and jewelry initiative’s “aim to explore long-term systematic solutions that will advance sustainability in our wider supplier communities.”
The SME-focused Solutions Lab will give companies of that size “the framework they need to build concrete actions plans and sustainability roadmaps consistent with their clients and own supplier plans,” said president and chief executive officer of Cartier International Cyrille Vigneron in a statement revealing the new program.
It will offer practical guidance on key sustainability topics, develop a replicable and scalable framework to enhance responsible supply chain practices and increase transparency reporting to help track progress over time.
Innovation and technology will also be a key point, in a bid to attract a younger generation to its artisanal and other skills and capitalize on “an enormous opportunity and duty to attract young talent to inspire them to work for our industry,” Van der Veken said. “That will require a new mindset of design thinking in sustainability and more cooperation than ever.”
A first step in this project will be a working group launching in March with the World Jewelry Confederation (CIBJO), the French Union of Jewelry (BJOP) and the design department of Polytechnic University of Milan.
Best practices stemming from the SME Solutions Lab will be shared in the broader WJI 2030 Solutions Lab.
Like Kering’s Fashion Pact, launched in 2019, the Watch and Jewelry Initiative spans high and low players, including brands, distributors and suppliers, regardless of size. 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.