On 13 November 2018 at an event hosted in Singapore’s exclusive members’ club, 1880, Chopard discussed how it is using 100% Ethical Gold in its jewellery and watches.
HER Planet Earth Founder, Christine Amour-Levar, shared a panel with with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, Wei Koh, Founder of The Rake & Revolution and Marc Nicholson, Founder of 1880, to discuss Chopard's commitment to sustainability.
Chopard defines “Ethical Gold” as gold acquired from responsible sources, verified as having met international best practice environmental and social standards.
Chopard gold is being responsibly sourced from one of two traceable routes:
In order to further increase its contribution in artisanal gold miners’ improvement initiatives and therefore contribute to a further growth of volumes of ethically extracted gold, Chopard joined SBGA (Swiss Better Gold Association) in 2017.
“We are incredibly proud of being able to say that all of our gold is being purchased from responsible sources. Chopard’s vision is to increase, as much as it possibly can, the proportion of artisanal gold the Maison buys as it becomes more available on the market. Today, Chopard is the largest buyer of Fairmined gold. It is a bold commitment, but one that we must pursue if we are to make a difference to the lives of people who make our business possible”, said Scheufele.
Chopard has been able to achieve this because more than 30 years ago, they developed a vertically integrated in house production, and invested in mastering all crafts internally, from creating a rare in-house gold foundry as early as 1978, to the skills of high jewellery artisans and expert watchmakers. Chopard watches and jewellery are beautifully crafted in-house, this means the Maison is in the unique position to be able to guarantee control of all processes; from manufacturing to final product, therefore controlling the gold used in its products.
In 2013 Chopard took the long-term decision to directly invest in artisanal gold, to bring more artisanal gold to the market. By providing financial and technical resources in partnership with the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Chopard were directly responsible for a number of small scale mines achieving Fairmined certification. This then allows the small-scale mining communities to sell their gold at a premium price whilst ensuring mining is undertaken in line with strict environmental and social conditions. Chopard also helped establish new trade routes from the mines they source from in South America, bringing traceable products into Europe and providing further financial income into local communities.
This announcement also marked the next phase of Chopard’s sustainability programme - The Journey to Sustainable Luxury – as the luxury watch and jewellery house unveiled its alignment with the UN Global Goals. As a responsible company, Chopard wanted to go above and beyond compliance and measure how the Maison can contribute to the achievement of the ambitious and much needed UN Global Goals; including contributing to decent work, reduced inequality and responsible resource consumption.
“Sustainable luxury is indeed the way of the future. It is not an eco-friendly product seeking a premium image but instead, it is a luxury product with sustainable values. It is another option to conserving our planet since consumers would be channelling their purchasing power to where they might do the least harm — by buying sustainable luxury goods. It is not only good for the planet but it makes absolute business sense in the long term. I applaud Chopard’s efforts and their leadership initiative in this area,” said Amour-Levar.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On November 1, 2018, a self-funded team of ten women from Singapore, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and London, will set sail across the remote islands of Palawan in the Philippines on a traditional Paraw sailboat raising awareness and funds for women’s empowerment and environmental conservation.
The team, working together under the banner of HER Planet Earth, a women's advocacy group headquartered in Singapore that supports the improvement of women’s lives with the integrity of the environment, aims to highlight the importance of climate change and the urgency of preserving the earth for future generations.
Indeed, climate change and environmental degradation are known barriers to sustainable development, augmenting existing inequalities and gender often remains the untold story behind climate change. In many countries, women are among the most vulnerable to climate change and environmental impacts, partly because they make up the larger share of the agricultural workforce and tend to have access to fewer income-earning jobs. The destructive forces of nature, impacted by rising global temperatures, which manifest in cyclones, floods and other extreme weather conditions, which can act as negative force multipliers in societies already riven by inequality.
A core objective of this expedition is to visit and offer support to the Tao Kalahi Foundation, which includes projects for the advancement of women, children's education, organic farming and local traditional crafts for this region of Palawan. The team will also visit and learn from the Sulubaai Environmental Foundation, an organisation dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring the natural resources of Palawan through environmentally sustainable practices and active ecosystems restoration. Operating in and around the island of Pangatalan, a Marine Protected Area or “No-Take Zone”, Sulubaai aims to protect the coral reefs which are the breeding grounds for fish and other marine creatures. They are committed to improving the resilience of ecosystems and increasing fish stock in the area for sustainable living of the families and villagers in the area.
The Sailing Expedition is set on a stunning 74-foot sailboat, the largest Paraw in the Philippines, which is a revival of an almost forgotten Filipino maritime culture dating back more than 1000 years. Meandering through the beautiful Linapacan island group from Coron to El Nido, the expedition will combine stretches of pure sailing with time for exploration of the islands, reefs, and villages along the way to discover what support may help advance the women and their local environmental challenges. The team will camp on the shores of raw untouched islands, explore fishing villages, discover hidden jungle routes and visit the various project of the Tao Kalahi Foundation and the Sulubaai Foundation.
The women in the islands that the team will be visiting live a very simple existence and one thing they don’t have is access to hygienic and appropriate sanitary wear. In view of this, the HER Planet Earth team will be bringing plastic-free, washable and reusable sanitary packs from Binti International, a UK-based charity that operates a sustainable community projects manufacturing low cost sanitary towels.
“While climate change is a global phenomenon, its impact is not spread across a level playing field. Its effects are felt locally, and poor people suffer the most. Among the world’s 1.3 billion poor people, the majority are women. That is why it is vital that we support and empower more women to play a central role in decision-making at all levels of society. Only then will environmental sustainability become a true reality,” said HER Planet Earth Founder, Christine Amour-Levar, who wants to see ‘gender’ at the heart of climate action.
FIND OUT MORE
About HER Planet Earth
HER Planet Earth is a global women’s advocacy movement that promotes a deeper connection between women empowerment and the integrity of the environment. The non-profit organisation, which is headquartered in Singapore, aims to inspire more women to become policymakers and agents of change to achieve social and economic equity and a healthy and thriving planet.
HER Planet Earth organises pioneering, self-funded, expeditions around the world to increase awareness of environmental degradation and raise funds for programmes that empower and educate underprivileged women affected by climate change - ultimately helping them build climate change resilience. The organisation partners with nature lovers, environmentalists, scientists, polar explorers, adventurers, women’s rights advocates, corporates, tech entrepreneurs, feminists and NGOs that have programmes and structures in place dedicated to building a deeper connection between gender equality, genuinely sustainable development and the protection of the environment. www.HERplanetearth.com
About the Tao Kalahi Foundation
Founded in 2008 the Tao Kalahi Foundation works like an extended family in a sustainable micro-economy across a 200km stretch of islands. Creating jobs and providing opportunities: women’s group, food production, water security, schools, and scholarships – offering alternate means of livelihood and access to education among families challenged by isolation and the collapse of the fishing industry. The foundation works with what is already here; utilising abundant resources and harnessing existing skills to come up with sustainable solutions.
The foundation is inspired by what the Tao expedition business has already achieved, geared towards inclusive growth. Solely funded by the Tao tourism business, the Foundation is an open space for both sharing and learning. Their goal now is to create a stronger impact not just within island communities but looking outwards, reaching out to other communities in the Philippines, welcoming collaboration towards sustainable development. http://www.taokalahifoundation.org
About the Sulubaai Environmental Foundation
Sulubaaï Environmental Foundation is a non-profit foundation devoted to protect and restore Pangatalan Island Palawan. In 2011, Sulubaaï Environmental Foundation was born out of a common love for the ocean and desire to help the local communities of Palawan. The foundation decided to implement the first project site on Pangatalan Island. At that time, they found the island in various states of damage so their first task was to prevent further negative impact. In March 2016, the foundation started focusing their efforts on a 45- hectare Marine Protected Area (MPA) surrounding Pangatalan island. Their development model comprises people, environment, and the economy hinged on a sustainable strategy. https://sulubaai-foundation.com
About Binti International
Binti International is a UK registered Charity who establishes and operates self-sustainable community projects manufacturing low cost sanitary towels. We also deliver bespoke educational programmes raising awareness around menstruation in the UK India and Nairobi. Our projects are micro factories designed for entrepreneurial women self-help groups. We provide the manufacturing equipment, assist with funding options and set up distribution channels to deliver low cost sanitary towels within the community. Binti runs collection and donation drives for vulnerable girls and women in the UK. We deliver educational programmes for the wider community too focused on ensuring that girls understand periods before they start their cycle.https://binti.co.uk
The team of this HER Planet Earth Philippines 2018 Expedition from Asia and Europe is formed by ten intrepid women of diverse nationalities and backgrounds. While they are all incredibly well accomplished in their careers, they are equally passionate about protecting the environment and empowering underprivileged women. To read the team bios please click here.
To donate the mission please visit the team's fundraising page here.
Did you know that forests cover approximately 30% of Earth’s surface? In 2005 alone, there were nearly 434 billion growing stock of trees available and 3.5 of those were removed. 60% of that 3.5 billion removed was industrial wood for woodworking. The remaining 40% was used as fuel. In areas with high income, forests are expanding and some countries are reversing their forest losses. However, in low income areas such as Brazil or Indonesia, forests are rapidly decreasing in size.
The Effects of Temperature & Concentration on Woodwork
The main concern here isn’t that the produced wood will be toxic, it’s the modified forests and the plantations. The majority of wood used in woodwork comes from these plantations, even though plantations make up a very small minority of all the forests. However, temperature and precipitation does have a huge impact on both modified and natural forests. For some zones, there’s been a polarized shift in which forests are better for growing vegetation. This is because of a 2xCO2 climate change.
Some experts are suggesting that in the next couple of decades, we might even see some forest replacement and expansion in the tundra area, which would also make them great for vegetation. This isn’t all good though because a lot of natural forests are still in decline, especially in third world countries and they’re declining fast. Timber for example is usually produced from managed forests and once this lag effect hits the natural forests, the timber production will see a slow down as a result as well.
There’s also something called the carbon fertilization effect. As more people fill the Earth, more CO2 is released into the atmosphere. CO2 isn’t all necessarily bad because orange trees have seen a significant increase in production as a result. This is thanks to an experiment called FACE or otherwise known as Free-Air CO2 Enrichment. FACE has faced some criticism because in old trees that are 100 years or older, little to no progress was made or shown. There was little to no stem growth found, so the concentration of CO2 isn’t helping older trees at all.
Further studies have suggested that the effects of CO2 have actually been increasing the forest growth rate, even the natural forests. This all boils down to he different temperatures, the precipitation and the availability of CO2 in the area.
Disasters & Disturbances
Climate change has been a contributing factor to the intensity and the velocity of forest fires, which has been very prominent in the past couple of years, with two major forest fires in the past two years, one which burned down most of Dollywood. The intensity of these fires has been increased thanks to increasingly high winds. Different insects and pathogens have also been very prominent which have helped rot and destroy natural wood, making it unusable for woodwork.
The problem with a lot of results and studies done is none of them include pathogens and insects, which have greatly diminished the effects of certain areas. Certain areas have high concentrations of insects due to climate change, which has greatly affected the amount of available wood that can be used by consumers. Russia, Canada and the United States have seen the greatest increase in forest fires because of climate changes and weather conditions that have rapidly shifted in the past couple of decades.
In first world countries, forest fires have become more prominent and experts believe it’s because of a combination of:
- Ignition sources and how many people are driving automobiles, which releases a lot of harmful chemicals in the air. A lot of people in first world countries prefer driving by themselves which means there’s one vehicle per person on the road most of the time.
- The fuel that’s being used is another contributing factor and the fuel used in most modern automobiles today is extremely harmful to the environment.
- Fire protection policies and laws have also shifted, because of political regulations and more. Some of these protections were set in place to help prevent or fight forest fires but some have been redacted.
In the next decade, it’s expected that areas like Canada and the United States will lose a significant amount of their timber, pulp and other consumer wood because of mostly how people live in these areas and forest fires.
The west in general has a lot of extreme events thanks to their sporadic weather conditions. When we have harsh winters and harsh summers, strong winds and other natural weather events will shape the forests we use for lumber and wood in a negative way. We can start by adjusting our behavior as consumers and releasing less harmful chemicals into the air that negatively impact the client. Our negative and harmful ways of living have also allowed more insects and pathogens to negatively impact the forest. If we don’t, then the negative outcome of production in wood will also impact the economy down the road.
This article was submitted by Sawinery
This Article was first published on Forbes on February 21, 2018.
Story written by Christine Amour-Levar
Shark fin soup has been a tradition at Chinese festive celebrations and wedding banquets, but growing demand of shark fin soup is pushing sharks to extinction and disrupting the balance of our oceans. Without sharks, the entire ocean ecosystem could be altered, negatively impacting humans and ocean dwellers alike.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a quarter of sharks and rays are facing extinction in the coming years. Today, 100 million sharks are killed annually around the world, driven by demand for their fins and meat. Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are the top importers of shark fins globally. The fins are supplied by Indonesia, Spain, India, the United States and Argentina, which account for almost half of all shark landings in the world.
In 2017, Singapore was identified as the world's second-largest trader of shark fins after Hong Kong. Between 2012 and 2013, Singapore exported $40 million worth of shark fins, closely following Hong Kong’s $45 million, and imported $51.4 million worth of fins, compared to Hong Kong’s $170 million.
Nevertheless, Singaporeans are increasingly aware of this grave problem, and according to a recent survey by WWF, nine out of ten people in the island state care about sharks going extinct, while eight out of ten have stopped consuming shark fin over the past year. Despite this, there is still a significant group of people who believe sharks can be grown in fisheries. Many fisheries across the world have tried this but to-date, only one has been able to farm one species: the spiny dogfish. All sharks sold in Singapore today are caught in the wild.
Furthermore, some countries have regulations that only allow shark fishing if the whole animal is brought to land. Yet, this does not make the practice sustainable. Thanks to the growing awareness of the impact sharks’ extinction could have on our environment, the #NoSharkFin movement is gaining momentum around the world and particularly in Singapore. And as the island celebrates the Lunar New Year, businesses across the country are taking action against serving shark products.
Last week, 89 Singapore-based establishments committed to phasing out shark fin in 2018. These include brands such as Crystal Jade, Pan Pacific Hotels, AccorHotels and Foodpanda, whose policy applies across its 3,800 partner restaurants. Chinese restaurant group, Crystal Jade Culinary Holdings, has committed to removing shark fin dishes from the Chinese New Year set menus across all restaurants in Singapore under its portfolio. From 31 July 2018, shark fin will no longer feature on the menus of its 28 restaurants. “Seafood remains a prominent part of Chinese cuisine. This decision to phase out shark fin, a long-established traditional dish, is our first step towards protecting oceans and seafood supplies as a socially-responsible business. We will continue to offer premium alternatives in place of shark fin,” said Cynthia Yee, Senior Vice President, Marcom, Crystal Jade Culinary Holdings. The company is confident that the move will improve customers' perceptions and lead them to patronize its restaurants more often.
The Pan Pacific Hotels Group, which is headquartered in Singapore, has stopped serving shark fin across its 34 properties and 7 restaurants around the world as of 1 January 2018. F&B delivery service, Foodpanda will also remove shark-related dishes from the menus of the restaurants listed on its platform starting 5 March 2018. Its head of marketing and sustainability lead Laura Kantor said that currently, just 93 out of 3,800 restaurants on the platform serve shark fin and less than 1% of total orders include shark fin.
This move signals a collective effort by the F&B industry to address the serious threat that shark fishing poses. “As sustainable options do not exist for sharks, halting consumer demand is the only solution today.” said Elaine Tan, Chief Executive Officer of WWF Singapore.
This is WWF's largest collective pledge by the F&B industry in Singapore to date. Establishments will phase out shark fin in one of three ways; by completely removing shark fin from their menus, by not serving shark fin for a trial period of time or by removing shark fin from menus and serving it only upon request or on a case-by-case basis.
Environmental issues related to consumption of shark meat and fins are not new among consumers in Singapore and abroad. Over the last five years, about 18,000 hotels worldwide have removed and banned shark's fin from their menus.
Consumption of shark fin soup in China has fallen by around 80% since 2011, thanks to a celebrity-driven public awareness campaign and a government crackdown on extravagant banquets. But the good news is offset by an alarming rise in the consumption of this prestige dish in places like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Macao, according to a new report by WildAid, a San Francisco-based group that campaigns to curb demand for wildlife products.
Continued public awareness, effective legislation and ongoing scientific research remain essential to the future safeguarding of many shark species, even as conservation efforts continue.