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WWF-International's Watch And Jewellery Sustainability Rating

Updated: Feb 10

I recently read WWF-International's latest report: "Time For Change: Demanding More Transparency And Responsibility In The Watch And Jewellery Sector Sustainability Rating And Industry Report 2023". I found this report fascinating, feel free to read it here, but don't worry if you're short on time—I'll recap its major findings and takeaways for you, here.

Left to right: Kitty modelling Pomellato jewellery and Panerai watch, two luxury brands which ranked 1 and 6, respectively out of 21 assessed brands.

Report Summary

Summing it up, the report emphasises the environmental and social costs of luxury goods production, citing significant impacts on air, water, soil, and ecosystems. It notes the associated human rights issues, such as child and forced labour or land grabbing. In 2018, a similar report by WWF-International revealed a lack of supply chain transparency and inadequate environmental measures among Swiss watch and jewellery manufacturers.

WWF's Watch And Jewellery Sustainability Rating

The report introduces WWF's 2023 Watch and Jewellery Rating, which aims to assess brands' sustainability performance, with a focus on critical raw materials like gold, highlighting improvements and shortcomings while advocating for responsible business practices to reduce the sector's environmental impact.

Evaluating Criteria And Methodology

The evaluation criteria and methodology for the 2023's rating were refined from 2018's, aligning them with current standards and incorporating additional themes. Companies are now expected to set targets and adopt stewardship approaches addressing biodiversity, water, circularity, and human rights across their entire supply chain. The integration of human rights and environmental issues recognises their interconnectedness, emphasising the need for a holistic approach to sustainability.

Transparency And Impartiality

To ensure impartiality, adelphi, a consultancy specialising in climate, environment, and development, conducted the rating. Data for this report were gathered between March and June 2023, incorporates publicly available data gathered from the brand’s websites, sustainability reports, press releases, articles, and industry reports as well as a comprehensive questionnaire submitted to brands.

Results And Findings

The rating showcases advancements by brands affiliated with larger groups, which benefitted from sustainability efforts at the group level, enhancing the sector's current state and perception. It also highlights where other companies lag in adhering to responsible business practices, emphasising the collective need to reduce the sector's environmental impact. One brand was labelled as “non-transparent”, indicating a lack of available information regarding its sustainability commitments. Notably, no brand achieved the top two rankings, underscoring substantial room for improvement within the industry.

Tips For Consumers

Check out these tips for exuding style and making a positive impact when indulging in the world of luxury jewellery and watches.

  1. Support the transition: embrace conscious consumption by exclusively choosing brands committed to the highest levels of traceability across their entire supply chain. Dive into the details when investing in watches or jewellery – read about the origin of materials, working conditions, environmental impact, certification, and commitment to sustainability standards.

  2. Buy less but better: adopt a more mindful approach to your fashion choices by opting to buy less, even when choosing sustainable brands. In today's fashion landscape, pre-loved accessories like jewellery and watches have become mainstream, making it easier than ever to trade in or resale your high-end items. If you're on a tight budget, consider the alternative of renting for special occasions instead of making a substantial investment.

  3. Reuse and repurpose: when you find yourself with items that have served their purpose or lost their appeal, think about giving them a new lease of life. Whether it's reselling them to someone who'll cherish them anew or sending them off for recycling, you're not just decluttering; you're participating in a sustainable and eco-friendly cycle.

  4. Advocate for more sustainability: join the movement to champion responsibly sourced products through collective action. Take an active stance by engaging in discussions and casting your vote for improved policies and regulations that safeguard both nature and human rights. Together, let's make our world more loveable!

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