Chopard commits to 100% ethical gold pledge with Julianne Moore and Colin Firth
The luxury jeweller and watchmakers will only use ethical and sustainable material by July 2018
Sustainable luxury is at the heart of this year's Baselworld Watch Fair, and Chopard is leading the way in style with its pledge to move to 100% ethically sourced gold and gems by July. The Swiss brand has been highly praised for its commitment to sustainability, but decided to make even further changes after an independent report by the Human Rights Watch examined its sourcing policies.
Speaking at Basel, Chopard co-presidents Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele were joined by celebrity friends of the brand including Julianne Moore, Colin and Livia Firth, and Arizona Muse to discuss the turning tide in responsible luxury. "The most important gem is our planet," said president and creative director Caroline, adding that it was meeting ethical fashion advocate Livia in 2013 that started her plan to 'go green'.
"I'm very proud that five years down the road we have achieved what we have," she said. "It seemed very complicated in the beginning, and I think the most complicated thing was to also convince everybody in our production that they have to change, they have to get out of their comfort zone and produce the pieces in a different way. In the beginning it was the first 88 kilos of gold that arrived directly from Columbia, and this gold was treated like a VIP client going into the production, completely separate from everything else."
"It is an approach that I think suits and fits our independent, family company," said co-president Karl-Friedrich, adding that it was an intuitive move from their conservation work. "Back in 2010, when we had our 150th anniversary, Caroline designed a beautiful collection called Animal World. We connected with WWF and realised that we were really not perfectly in line with sustainability. They suggested we join the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and that's when the journey began. Once we were part of RJC we realised that we could do more."
Chopard will now responsibly source all gold from two traceable routes, artisanal freshly-mined gold from small mines under the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) umbrella, Fairtrade or Fair-Mined schemes, or through the brand's partnership with the RJC Chain of Custody gold refineries. Chopard also partners with the ethical Gemfield mines for their precious and semi-precious gems - a collaboration that was premiered by Moore on the red carpet. >>
"As an actress on the red carpet I have access to beautiful clothes and jewellery - there's almost nothing in the world I can't borrow, obviously I'm very, very fortunate," said Moore, "but to be in a position where I can choose something that has been ethically sourced is, as Caroline was saying, a huge luxury. I think what Chopard has done by taking the lead on sustainability has made their products so much more attractive.
"Everything we do as a species is going to affect somebody else, so I don't want to be wearing anything where a human being has been harmed and certainly, as a feminist, in terms of supply chain I want to make sure every woman who has worked along the way has been treated fairly - this gives me the opportunity to wear something very responsibly," she said.
Hologram for the King star Colin Firth was enamoured by the craftsmanship of watchmaking, particularly in today's digital age. "I went to visit the Chopard factory, and to see the process of human hands in all these different rooms applying themselves to a different stage of this [timepiece]… this very small number of people who are really qualified to do this […] it struck me, not only was it something that had this tangibility to it, but also what machine has ever been more harmoniously perfect than a watch or a clock?
"I don't want to start getting mystical about it, but I thought, okay this thing is perfect, this is a perfect harmonious thing which works because its calibrated with all these little circles inside, and so I just fell in love with the beauty of the object," he said. "You can argue that it's not necessary to have a watch anymore, you can check the time on your phone - it's hard to escape what time it is - but this thing is still something to be cherished, not just because of the way it looks but really because of the way it works." >>
Chopard premiered new High Jewellery Green Carpet Collection pieces at this year's Baselworld, which are exclusively made from Fair-mined gold, as well as the High Horlogery L.U.C Full Strike watch and the Happy Palm watch.
"As a family run business, ethics have always been an important part of our family philosophy. Naturally, we have always put ethics at the heart of the values of Chopard," said Caroline. "True luxury comes only when you know the handprint of your supply chain and I am very proud of our gold sourcing programme. As Creative Director of the brand, I am so proud to share the stories behind each beautiful piece to our customers and know they will wear these stories with pride."