In 1868, an American man by the name of Florentine Ariosto Jones created a company that would quickly garner a reputation as one of the premier luxury watch manufacturers in the world. Almost 150 years later, IWC Schaffhausen has maintained that reputation and is now as committed to reducing their carbon footprint as they are about creating masterful watches. As a member of the International Climate Group, IWC has taken great strides toward lowering greenhouse gas emissions as well as establishing means to a greener industrial revolution.
For instance, as a watch company, millions of minuscule pieces must be meticulously stored. Formerly, they were organized in plastic bins. In order to eliminate the plastic usage, the company has switched to receptacles made of more eco-friendly material. Regarding the plastic in the watch wrappings, the amount of plastic per wrap has been greatly reduced. In addition, IWC recycles any unavoidable plastic pieces into synthetic oil.
Concerning its water intake, IWC has instituted a rain water barrel collection initiative. Rain water is used in every way that tap water would be used, even going so far as fueling a quarter of energy usage from the Schaffhausen and Neuhausen distributors. Waste and groundwater are used as alternative energy sources, but are no longer primary; although they are not used as often to run the processes, a combined over million kilowatt-hours of energy have been produced. Capitalizing on the renewable water resources in this way has helped to save 255,000 litres (67,364 gallons) of drinking water during the 2014 fiscal year. More recently, IWC Schaffhausen has backed Mina Guli, the founder and CEO of Thirst, who just completed a daring expedition, which she titled the “7 Deserts Run”. Between February 1 and March 22, 2016, she set out to run 40 marathons across seven deserts and all seven continents to raise awareness for how few people in developing countries have readily available drinking water.
The carbon footprint of a watch distributor the size of IWC Schaffhausen is, seemingly, immense. Due to the power required to maintain and modernize the company, IWC has implemented a few carbon emission improvement methods in both their distributors as well as their supply chains in order to reduce greenhouse gases. The company’s website boasts a long list of accomplishments toward a more eco-conscious future, including heat production from heating pumps and energy-saving light bulbs. Because of their extensive alterations, IWC has been recognized as a certified CO2-neutral business since 2007. In 2014, IWC Schaffhausen has helped The Rainforest Project in Borneo as well as connecting small villages in Honduras with hydropower resources.
The creation of each watch box requires plastic, but it also requires a considerable amount of paper. To reduce the negative effects of the packaging process, IWC Schaffhausen has switched to using exclusively FSC-certified paper products. The Forest Stewardship Council, a global non-profit organization, seeks to build responsible forest management through standards, monitoring and certification. The FSC label goes on every watch box and both internal and external communications throughout the company use strictly FSC-certified products.
Supporting institutions around the world that promote eco-conscious living and practices is of the utmost importance to IWC Schaffhausen. According to the IWC Schaffhausen website, “On the one hand, we support selected institutions that exist to help children and adolescents growing up in difficult circumstances; on the other, we establish partnerships with organizations working against climate change and environmental damage.” IWC also releases special edition watches specific to current worldwide projects that the brand deems more significant. With help from The Cousteau Society, IWC is also supporting the restoration of The Calypso, Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s research vessel. Spreading Cousteau’s admiration of the world’s oceans and the unique species that thrive in marine biomes are causes that IWC Schaffhausen stands firmly behind.
IWC Schaffhausen is a luxury brand with deep-seeded ties to eco-conscious living. CEO Georges Kern explained, “Beyond the confines of our company, at IWC we aim for similar standards in our response to the environmental challenges of today, supporting landmark projects around the globe.”
By: Julia Mellett