A journey to sustainability

IWC Schaffhausen partners with environmentalist and supermodel Gisele Bündchen


IWC Schaffhausen has released the fourth edition of its sustainability report. Now the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer welcomes environmentalist and supermodel Gisele Bündchen as the brand’s first ever environmental and community projects advisor.

Since 2009, she has served as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Program, engaging with causes that advocate for biodiversity and wildlife. Gisele has been honored by Harvard University and UCLA for her longstanding commitment to environmental issues and also received the Best Green International Celebrity Award by the Green Awards.

When IWC carried out the materiality analysis for its 2022 sustainability report, the fourth edition and the latest, it identified biodiversity and communities as two crucial areas to accelerate its efforts. Gisele will bring her experience with these causes and her passion for protecting the planet to IWC’s sustainability projects. She will also support the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer in identifying initiatives to work on in the future.

 “I’m excited to partner with IWC on our shared purpose of protecting our planet, says Gisele of her partnership with IWC. “Our sustainability journeys both started with the realization that we had a responsibility to do more. That we could use our voices and influence to make a positive impact on the environment and society. I look forward to working together with IWC to help leave a better future for generations to come.”

Franziska Gsell, chief marketing officer and sustainability committee chair at IWC Schaffhausen, is equally delighted. “With Gisele we have someone who shares our purpose and determination to impact real change on the environment and society,” she says. “Gisele’s experience, dedication, and global reach will help open up new possibilities for us to positively impact the environment and communities around the world.”

IWC began its sustainability journey over a decade ago and the precision, passion, and persistence that go into its watchmaking helps drive its sustainability efforts. Watches produced by IWC are sustainable by default, cherished and handed down to the next generation. In 2020, the company set nine targets to accomplish by 2022. Despite the pandemic, it has achieved many of its goals and made considerable strides in others.

Chris Grainger-Herr

Among IWC’s achievements is RJC’s Chain of Custody (CoC) certification of watch components, a voluntary standard that certifies that the gold and platinum used in its supply chain are traceable and responsibly sourced. It has also switched to purchasing 100 percent renewable energy globally, maintained a “Great Place to Work” certification, achieved Equal Salary certification in Switzerland, and developed and piloted a blueprint for sustainable events. By the end of 2022, IWC is on track to phasing out the purchase of non-FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forestry products (e.g. paper, cardboard, wood, furniture), doubling its annual corporate volunteering hours compared to a 2020 baseline, and having twice the number of women in managerial positions as a 2017 baseline.

‘We keenly understand our responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment, to work toward a more equitable society, and to show that luxury does not need to mean excess. Nor be excessive.’

In other key developments since 2020, IWC has launched TimberTex straps made from 80 percent plant-based fibers sustainably sourced from European forests, eliminated single-use plastics at its headquarters and boutiques, and continued to partner with organizations around the world, such as Laureus Sport for Good and Save the Children, to drive societal change.

 “We continue to move ahead in our sustainability journey, always questioning what more we can do in material innovation, energy use, and societal impact to be even more sustainable,” says Franziska of the company’s progress over the past two years since the last sustainability report. “We keenly understand our responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment, to work toward a more equitable society, and to show that luxury does not need to mean excess. Nor be excessive.”

Franziska Gsell

The 2022 sustainability report is part of the company’s continued efforts to being fully transparent about the progress toward its sustainability goals. “Sustainability permeates our entire business—at all divisions, at all levels. It drives us to think smarter, to innovate, and to take advantage of the opportunities that being a more responsible company creates,” explains Chris Grainger-Herr, CEO at IWC Schaffhausen. “This sustainability report demonstrates our commitment to being transparent and sustainable. Unapologetically and without exceptions.”

To further increase transparency and regularly engage stakeholders in its journey, IWC has announced an annual rather than biannual cadence for the report. This year’s edition provides an update on the company’s ongoing sustainability journey, based on a new purpose, “Engineering beyond time,” upheld by the pillars of transparency, responsibility, and circularity.

Throughout the course of her 27-year career, IWC’s new first ever environmental and community projects advisor has been photographed by legendary photographers and walked the runways of the world’s most esteemed fashion houses. She has been the face of countless global campaigns and graced the covers of more than 1,200 magazines around the globe. Gisele is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, in which she shares personal stories and insights that have helped her live a more conscious and joyful life. She is known for her passionate commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. With a uniquely global reach, she uses her influence to bring attention to our planet and how society can collectively work to protect it.

Gisele’s professionalism, dedication, and passion make her a formidable advocate for environmental and social causes and a partner for IWC. www.iwc.com