Fair working conditions and decent pay are important selling factors at the top level of exclusivity.
By Britta Rossander
t was at last year’s film festival in Cannes that we were informed that Chopard – one of the world’s largest privately owned producer of top-notch watches and jewelry – are working for sustainable luxury through their relation with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) in South Africa.
The Green Carpet is the order of the day, which means jewelry and watchcases made out of Fairmine gold and responsibly supplied diamonds. These pieces have been worn by Marion Cotiallard (from the movie Blood Ties) in Cannes, by Virginie Ledoyen (French actress) at the Venice film festival, and by Cate Blanchet at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards.
Chopard also presented the world’s first watch with a case made of Fairmined gold at Baselworld last spring, called the LUC Tourbillon QF Fairmined. The watch is produced in a number of 25 units and has a nine-day power reserve.
This initiative from Chopard is the result of an engagement shared by Livia Firth (actor Colin’s wife) and one of Chopard’s two CEO’s, Caroline Scheufele.
Livia Firth is a founder of Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) that encourages celebrities and fashion designers to “think green” and raise the profile for ethics in the fashion business. Several designers have joined the movement, like Tom Ford, Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney to name just a few, but no one in the watch and jewelry business had dared pick up the passed torch when the two ladies met at the Academy Awards two years ago.
– When I met Caroline Scheufele I knew she would be up to the challenge, says Livia Firth in a video from a seminar about luxury arranged by the International New York Times with top ranking fashion reporter Suszy Menkes as moderator.
Film festivals are about luxury, glamour, beautiful dresses and exclusive watches and jewelry. But it’s also a platform that we can use to communicate through actors on the red carpet, Caroline Scheufele adds.
Chopard and Eco-Age, that Livia Firth represents, joined forces with ARM, an independent non-governmental organization based in Colombia, which aims to support those at the bottom of the ladder of gold mining.
ARM supports and makes it possible for mining communities to get Fairmined certification, which gives them a solid road to the market and a fair deal for the miners and their communities when they sell their gold.
Caroline was asked the following question when she met Livia:
”So where do you buy your gold?”
”From the bank of Switzerland”, was the quick answer.
Caroline admitted that she hade never given much thought to where it came from.
– In ARM, we are happy about Chopard’s choice to support small-scale mines and their workers by our Fairmined template. We know that when the mining sector and the chain of retailing work together, it makes a difference to small poor mining societies that make their living from the mine, says Lina Villa-Córdoba, CEO of ARM.
ARM says there is 360 kilos of Fairmined gold available on the market today, and their goal is to increase the figure to 1,000 kilos by 2015.
– We are a family business and very aware of our responsibility for sustainable luxury. This is the start of a very exciting program over several years that will make sure that we work towards our goal for sustainable jewelry. We are hoping to set a chain reaction in motion. It’s not easy, but it’s the right way to go, says Caroline Scheufele.
The first Green Carpet Challenge was carried out at this year’s Golden Globe. Cate Blanchett, winner of the title Best Female Actor, strode down the red carpet wearing a fabulous pair of earrings from Chopard with 72 navette diamonds looking like tender leaves. The diamonds were from the IGC group, one of the oldest diamond suppliers in the world, and their origins were certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). Chopard were also one of the first to make sure their diamonds are “conflict free” and they support the Kimberly process.
– Cate Blanchett is more than just a brilliant actress and a fashion icon, she is also a woman with great understanding for important matters. By wearing Chopard’s jewelry at the Golden Globe, Cate signals that she supports a real evolution into sustainable luxury that makes a difference already for the miners’ conditions, says Livia Firth.
The presentation of the watch made out of the coveted Fairmine gold shows Chopard’s intentions to choose Fairmine gold for all their collections as soon as there is an adequate supply of this important gold.