Innovation runs through our business, from the design of our products and the application of new materials such as ceramics and alloys, through to the processes we use. This innovation is fundamental to the sustainability of our business. Critical appreciation is marked by the awards received by our Maisons each year, particularly in the watchmaking domain.
The registering of patents and similar intellectual property is further testimony to the innovative culture within the Group’s European manufactures. Most of our Maisons’ product innovations are showcased at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) held each year in Geneva and at the Watches & Wonders exhibitions held in Hong Kong.
Recruiting and developing talented designers and craftsmen is integral to maintaining our pipeline of innovative products. We therefore invest significantly in training academies, partnerships and apprenticeship programmes to build the capabilities of our current and future workforce. See Fostering New Talent for more details.
Each Maison has dedicated quality control teams responsible for ensuring that products meet the high standards we set ourselves. The teams conduct regular assessments of product ranges, which include visits to suppliers and manufacturers across the world. New materials are tested to ensure conformity with applicable regulations. New manufacturing techniques are being explored, including additive manufacturing. The Group supports a Chair at the EPFL, Switzerland in pursuit of such innovations. The production process from initial design to the finished product involves various parties. Our design, manufacturing and quality control teams work in close collaboration throughout the process.
Watches, items of jewellery, writing instruments and leather goods do not represent any significant health and safety risk. Therefore the Group does not collect data on the number of products that go through an assessment for health and safety impacts: safety and ease of use are integral design considerations for all of our products. The Group has not been subject to any fines or non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with laws and regulations concerning the use of its products.
The great majority of the Group’s products have no ‘end of life’. As treasured heirlooms, jewellery, watches and writing instruments are passed from generation to generation. However, we will continue to look for new opportunities to innovate our product design, materials and processes to become more sustainable.
Counterfeiting and piracy are highly pervasive across countries and sectors, representing a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow globally. Latest estimates evaluate the global economic effects and social impacts of counterfeiting and piracy to USD 1.87 trillion in the next few years.
Richemont is determined to protect the intellectual property assets of its Maisons and businesses against this phenomena. Working with customs, police and administrative authorities around the world, Richemont organises daily raids and seizures to contain the spread of counterfeit products and send a strong message to pirates and counterfeiters.
Collaboration with the Maisons and their local platforms is a key factor to ensuring such anti-counterfeiting actions are targeted and efficient. As the problem of online counterfeiting has grown rapidly in the last few years, digital protection and enforcement have been essential elements in maintaining the exclusivity of our Maisons’ products in the Internet environment. Millions of fake products and infringing online listings are removed every year by Richemont, both off and online.
Product advertising and labelling
The Group’s Maisons advertise their products through a variety of media channels. Compliance with local advertising laws is monitored. No material instance of non-compliance was brought to the Group’s attention during the year under review.
The Group’s Maisons label their products in compliance with local laws. No material instance of non-compliance was brought to the Group’s attention during the year under review.