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Content - Swiss luxury brand Chopard commits to “ethical” gold

  • April 26, 2018

Swiss luxury brand Chopard commits to “ethical” gold

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – The Swiss brand Chopard has taken a unique initiative in the watch and jewelry industry with its recent announcement: Starting in July 2018, Chopard will use 100 percent ethical gold in its jewelry and watch creations. Chopard defines “Ethical Gold” as gold acquired from responsible sources, verified as having met international best practice environmental and social standards. The Japanese subsidiary of Chopard expects to benefit from this initiative because the concept of “ethical gold” would have a great appeal for the typical Japanese luxury client, Mr. Thomas Döbeli, General Manager of Chopard Japan, said.

Chopard "fairmined" gold

Gold from responsible sources

As a family-run business, sustainability has always been a core value, and now sees the culmination of a vision started more than 30 years ago, the company said in a statement on the occasion of the announcement. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, said: ”We are incredibly proud of being able to say that from July 2018 all of our gold will be purchased from responsible sources”. 

Chopard gold will be responsibly sourced from one of two traceable routes: 1) artisanal freshly mined gold from small-scale mines participating in the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), Fairmined and Fairtrade schemes; 2) RJC Chain of Custody gold, through Chopard’s partnership with RJC-certified refineries. 

In order to further increase its contribution in artisanal gold miners’ improvement initiatives and therefore contribute to a further growth of volumes of ethically extracted gold, Chopard joined SBGA (Swiss Better Gold Association) in 2017.

Chopard Japan event "The Journey to Sustainable Luxury" at the residence of the Ambassador of Switzerland to Japan on April 17th (click to enlarge)

Chopard Japan event "The Journey to Sustainable Luxury" at the residence of the Ambassador of Switzerland to Japan on April 17th (click to enlarge)

Targeting Japanese Millennials

“Consumers more and more want to know where their products are being produced and under what circumstances, also in Japan,” Mr. Thomas Döbeli, General Manager of Chopard Japan, said. “Luxury is no exception.” The Swiss argued that this would not only be true for Millennials, but constitute a generally evolving trend among consumers. Already since 2013, sustainability and “The Journey to sustainable luxury” is one of the key angles in the communication strategy of Chopard Japan.  

“Chopard being the pioneer for ethical gold in the luxury industry will bring us wide and qualitative coverage in the media here in Japan, reaching both existing clients as well as new potential clients, and re-confirm the maison’s image and positioning as an exclusive premium brand with highest social standards, craftsmanship, innovation and family values,” Mr. Döbeli said. These would all be aspects the sophisticated Japanese luxury client is very much interested in.

Swiss Ambassador Mr. Jean-François Paroz, his wife Yulia Gusynina Paroz, Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and his wife Christine Scheufele at the Chopard Japan event "The Journey to Sustainable Luxury" on April 17th (click to enlarge)

Swiss Ambassador Mr. Jean-François Paroz, his wife Yulia Gusynina Paroz, Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and his wife Christine Scheufele at the Chopard Japan event "The Journey to Sustainable Luxury" on April 17th (click to enlarge)

Largest buyer of fair-mined gold

Chopard’s vision is to increase, as much as it possibly can, the proportion of artisanal gold the Maison buys as it becomes more available on the market. Today Chopard is the largest buyer of fair-mined gold. “It is a bold commitment, but one that we must pursue if we are to make a difference to the lives of people who make our business possible,” Co-President Scheufele said.  

“We have been able to achieve this because more than 30 years ago, we developed a vertically integrated in-house production, and invested in mastering all crafts internally, from creating a rare in-house gold foundry as early as 1978, to the skills of high jewelry artisans and expert watchmakers,” he added.  

“True luxury comes only when you know the handprint of your supply chain and I am very proud of our gold sourcing program,” Ms. Caroline Scheufele, Co-President and Creative Director of Chopard said. “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”.  

Support for Fairmined certification

In 2013 Chopard took the long term decision to directly invest in artisanal gold, to bring more artisanal gold to the market. By providing financial and technical resources in partnership with the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Chopard was directly responsible for a number of small scale mines achieving Fairmined certification.  

This then allows the small scale mining communities to sell their gold at a premium price whilst ensuring mining is undertaken in line with strict environmental and social conditions. Chopard also helped establish new trade routes from the mines they source from in South America, bringing traceable products into Europe and providing further financial income into local communities. 

 

Text: Martin Fritz for SCCIJ based on Chopard material; Photos: © Chopard Japan

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