Time For Change
Prestige Singapore|October 2021
It’s time to look at luxury watch brands driving change towards sustainability, conservation and humanitarian efforts to make the world a better place. Kiran Pillay highlights the leading programmes.
Kiran Pillay

THE PERPETUAL PLANET INITIATIVE

Launched in 2019, Rolex’s Perpetual Planet initiative supports individuals and organisations using science to understand global environmental challenges and plan viable solutions to restore balance to our ecosystems.

Currently, the initiative embraces Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue initiative, founded in 2009 to preserve the oceans through a network of marine-protected Hope Spots. These are areas designated as vital to the preservation of species. The sites may be significant for their biodiversity, home to rare or endangered species, or be sites where local communities rely on a healthy marine environment for their livelihoods.

With the support of Rolex since 2014, the number of Hope Spots has increased from 50 to over 130. Earle contributes to a global effort aiming to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030. Presently, only 8 per cent of our oceans are conserved.

Since 2017, Rolex has also enhanced its long-standing partnership with the National Geographic Society to promote exploration and conservation. The two organizations unite in engaging in a series of expeditions focused on answering crucial questions about the impacts of climate change on critical environments.

In early 2021, a National Geographic team of explorers and scientists installed a weather station just below the summit of Tupungato Volcano in the Southern Andes. At the highest weather station in the Southern and Western hemispheres, scientists now have a window to observe atmospheric processes in the Chilean Andes. One of the most globally vulnerable water sources, these mountains provide critical freshwater to over six million inhabitants in nearby Santiago, the capital of Chile.

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise is another effort under the Perpetual Planet initiative’s umbrella. First set up in 1976 to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Rolex Oyster, the programme supports exceptional individuals making the world a better place.

To date, 150 Rolex Laureates have seen their labor come to fruition. Their efforts benefit an estimated five million people globally, with 48 innovative technologies developed for numerous applications. Thanks to them, over 18 million trees grow today. Additionally, 34 endangered species and 26 vital ecosystems, including a large expanse of the Amazon rainforest, are now protected.

The vision and values of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf endure as the company turns its passion of exploration for pure discovery into a passion for preserving the natural world. Its commitment to supporting explorers on this mission is a noble quest with no end in sight, enabling change for a better tomorrow.

CARTIER WOMEN’S INITIATIVE

The Cartier Women’s Initiative (CWI) is an annual international entrepreneurship programme that aims to effect change by empowering women impact entrepreneurs. The initiative equips these entrepreneurs with the financial, social, and human capital required to build their leadership skills and grow their businesses.

Since its inception in 2006, the programme has embraced women-owned businesses internationally for as long as they aim to have a significant and sustainable social or environmental impact. Cartier has received over 20,000 applications in the last 15 years. The international luxury maison has supported promising female entrepreneurs from 56 nations, awarding over US$3 million to support their efforts.

Each year, the Regional Awards recognizes women from every corner of the globe, including Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle, and North Africa, East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania. In less than a decade, the Cartier Awards has grown from attracting 360 to 1,200 applications yearly.

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