We are committed to minimising our impact on the natural environment and to reducing our carbon footprint. We recognise national and international standards of environmental performance and provide relevant guidance both to our Maisons and to our suppliers in this regard.
Overall, the Group’s activities have a very low direct exposure to climate change. The production of high quality goods is concentrated in Switzerland and their distribution is spread around the world. Nevertheless, the CSR Committee has considered this matter and has not identified weaknesses in our business model which would be worsened by gradual temperature changes, cases of extreme weather conditions or growing water scarcity. Similarly, the supply of precious raw materials, which is largely controlled by international mining enterprises, metal refiners and gemstone cutters and polishers, is not expected to be disrupted by gradual changes in the natural environment.
Notwithstanding these considerations, we continue to carry out robust energy audits across our businesses and seek to respect the most demanding environmental standards when building new manufacturing facilities. In this way, we play our part in minimising our energy consumption and contribute to the long-term sustainability of our business.
Our Environmental Code of Conduct is built on national and international norms and standards for environmental management. The Code addresses industry-specific issues, such as the environmental impacts of using gold, gemstones and leather, as well as universal environmental issues.
The Code sets a minimum applicable operating standard for all of the Group’s businesses. Each business is expected to implement its own environmental management system, tailored to suit its size and type of activity. Improving the quality and scope of our environmental data remains an area of focus.
The CSR Committee reviews environmental performance, determines new initiatives and reports progress to the Board.
Richemont’s Internal Audit function includes environmental considerations within its systematic risk analysis and monitors compliance with the Code. Procedures are in place to ensure that non-compliance with the Code is followed up with a programme of remedial action. With a view to improving the overall management of risks, environmental audits of specific manufacturing sites in Switzerland were begun during the prior year: the results are used to drive continuous improvement plans at each location.
The process to achieve certification with the RJC’s Code of Practices, which includes a review of environment matters, has also helped our Maisons improve their international environmental management practices.
Environmental data are consolidated annually, including the energy we use in our buildings, the fuel consumed as we travel and other elements necessary to calculate our carbon footprint. The results are disclosed in this CSR report and are communicated internally to employees via the CSR representatives. Since 2011, Richemont’s environmental data has been reviewed by an independent body and an assurance report has been duly issued.
Separately, the Maisons and Group operations have chosen to use Forestry Stewardship Council-certified paper and packaging materials wherever possible. PEFC-certified paper is sometimes used as an alternative (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes).
Our Maisons engage their employees directly on environment themes in a variety of ways. These range from communications on environmental good practice at work to financially incentivising employees to use public transport. The latter is commonplace within the Group.
Through its Model Supplier Code, the Group’s operations encourage environmentally friendly practices among its direct suppliers and their suppliers. Separately, through the RJC, the seven member Maisons participate in industry-wide efforts to reduce the long-term environmental impact of both large-scale and artisanal mining.
The Group’s CSR Committee has noted the ever-growing number of environmental initiatives reported by local CSR representatives in markets such as Japan, the USA, Hong Kong and Switzerland. The initiatives range from reducing the consumption of electricity in offices to improving the thermal insulation of buildings.
The Group participates in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (‘CDP’) annual data collection process. Richemont’s 2011 submission received the following ratings by the CDP’s assessors: 83 % for disclosure and level C for performance. In the prior year, the disclosure score was less than 50 % and therefore, in accordance with the CDP’s internal procedures, no performance score was given.
We continue to work on improving our infrastructure, energy management and travel policies to limit our emissions. Specifically, we will undertake further site studies to identify opportunities for improvement.
To further improve overall environmental performance, the voluntary setting of environmental targets and objectives will also be considered by the Maisons in due course. Such initiatives are in line with Richemont’s ‘Environmental, Health and Safety Policy’, issued on 1 April 2012.