Sustainability isn’t something often associated with the luxury watch industry, or indeed any luxury market. Luxury is not a term that is synonymous with environmental consciousness, sustainability or recycling. Sure, marketing materials would have you believe that they want you to buy a watch, wear it for the rest of your life and then pass it down to your children (surely that’s the definition of true sustainability from an environmental point of view), but is that always their true intent? What are they doing to prove this message is more than just a marketing gimmick?
We previously spoke about the issue of sustainability in the watch industry back in December, and it’s worth taking a quick look at this article here…I’ll wait.
Consumers across all industries are becoming increasingly interested in sustainability, but it’s often very difficult to know which brands reflect their personal values. The fast pace of life gets in the way and makes it nigh-on impossible to do the necessary research. Positive Luxury is accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. Thankfully there are some luxury brands who are on board with this message and are making an effort to combat the negative impact that the watch industry has had on the environment.
Linde Werdelin have proudly announced that they have been recognised by Positive Luxury and awarded their Butterfly Mark. The Butterfly Mark is a recognition of excellence, identifying the luxury brands that meet the highest standards of verified innovation and environmental performance, offering transparency at point of sale and equipping consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions.
With environmental and sustainability effects being so varied, it is difficult to apply a blanket qualification criteria for the Butterfly Mark across all industries. Companies contribute to their own sustainability in different forms, so each brand is assigned a list of Positive Actions to qualify their unique efforts, illustrating their sustainable and ethical business practices in a simple and consumer-friendly way.
The specific Positive Actions that Linde Werdelin were judged on are:
- Conscious Design
- Circular Economy
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Energy Efficiency
- Reduces Packing
- Recyclable Packaging
- Reduces Waste
- Pre-Owned/Takeback scheme
Founder Jorn Werdelin said: “For a long time we have had the planet and climate in mind when thinking about production and how we conduct ourselves, in particular, to pay respect to our source of inspiration: mountains and sea. Over the last few years, we have moved towards a more sustainable and circular model of operating. I have personally found it a long and challenging process and very much a mindset, as every decision taken needs to be considered carefully. We will progress a lot further and we are very pleased that our continued efforts have been recognised by the Butterfly Mark”.
This week, Linde Werdelin was also named ‘Circular Economy Pioneer of the Year’ by Positive luxury. The award celebrates the unique approach taken to a circular economy model. The judges were looking for a brand that curbs waste levels and creates a circular flow of resources benefitting the organisation as well as the surrounding community. They were looking for a business that implements all of this in an innovative way, and engages with stakeholders along the way to communicate the benefits of a circular economy model. Linde Werdelin received the award in a very competitive field of nominees including Louis Vuitton and Rebecca Taylor.
Jorn Werdelin said “We are very pleased that our efforts have been recognised by the Butterfly Mark and, in particular, as the winner of the Circular Economy Pioneer of the Year. Over the last few years, we have moved towards a more sustainable and circular model of operating, both in terms of our direct sales approach and our in-house resale service, the first of its kind in the industry. I have personally found it a long and challenging process and very much a mindset, where practically every decision taken needs to include that view. We anticipate our efforts will be further strengthened through the membership and support of this like-minded community”.
By achieving the Butterfly Mark, and winning the Circular Economy award, Linde Werdelin now joins the big guns of Richemont and LMVH as one of the frontrunners for pushing sustainability and environmental consciousness amongst the luxury watch industry. As consumer focus will only grow on what is a very hot topic in global culture, will we start to see some of the other big players join the cause?
Richemont has IWC with the Butterfly Mark and Panerai making a watch of ‘eco-titanium’ with recycled plastic bottles in the strap. LMVH have dipped their toe in the water with Tag Heuer also achieving the Butterfly mark. Breitling has also explored straps made of recycled materials. Will we start to see any of the other major fashion houses push their brands to champion this cause? Will any other smaller independent brands follow Linde Werdelin into the debate? Only time will tell, but all eyes will be whether brands use this opportunity to genuinely make a difference or just as another marketing gimmick.
Dave Sergeant is a long-time, yet ‘accidental’ watch fan. He received a watch as a gift from his wife, and wanted to learn what made them tick. Countless hours of research and devouring forum content soon followed and the journey into the watch world had begun.
He is the founder of UK-based Microbrand LPW Watch Co and a co-founder of the RedBar Manchester Chapter.
In his spare time he is a keen ice-hockey fan (Edmonton Oilers – represent!) and an amateur chilli-growing enthusiast. Born and raised in the south, he now lives with his wife and dog in the north, in Manchester.
Instagram: @davesergeant @lpwwatchco