With a dozen years in the watch industry, Benoit deClerck has spent the past seven of them at the North American helm of IWC. Today, IWC is one of the first to take a truly green perspective. Herein, Benoit deClerck reflects on IWC’s position in the environment.
RN: How does timing play a role in the Green initiative?
Timing plays a crucial role in the green initiative because if we don’t act now, we will run out of time to make a difference and preserve the beautiful places that are being affected by pollution and waste. It is beyond important that people take note of time and recognize that how they spend their time can affect the earth and our natural resources. If we make a concerted effort to pay attention to time, we become more enlightened and aware; thereby causing us to act in a way that is smart and can ultimately help us make a meaningful contribution.
RN: What are some of the current issues you support?
At IWC, we look for projects that are really meaningful – our goal is “doing well by doing good,” therefore it is imperative that we focus on a greater underlying message along with the sell through of our product. We aim to tell stories about projects such as the Charles Darwin Foundation that works to create a sustainable environment and a better future.
Scenes from the Galapagos Islands, CDFoundation
Other projects that we currently support are David de Rothschild’s Plastiki Expedition which really portrays the message of using waste as a resource. As you may be aware, David and his team constructed a boat created out of entirely recyclable materials and 120,000 plastic bottles and sailed from San Francisco, CA to Sydney Australia earlier this year. IWC has been his primary partner for this expedition because we really believe in the mission of the Plastiki and the new dialogs that it has created.
On a more local level, we are the primary sponsor for Angel Flight Northeast, a non-profit organization founded in Boston that provides free air transportation by volunteer pilots so that children and adults may access life-saving medical care. IWC firmly believes in the mission of Angel Flight NE and is also the perfect partner given our history of manufacturing pilot’s watches.
RN: IWC is a very pro-active watch brand when it comes to the environment, can you tell me when the company first started getting involved in environmental causes?
Well that’s an interesting question because if you really look back into IWC’s history, we’ve been green since 1868 as we first harnessed the hydro-electric power from the Rhine Fall to run the manufacture….. Overall, though, environmental initiatives have always been at the forefront of our strategic thinking. In 2007, we were definitely one of the pioneers in the Swiss watch industry when the company was certified as carbon neutral. Since then, whether through the addition of new buildings to the manufacture or through the initiatives we sponsor, environmental awareness and conservation have been paramount, and this is something that will continue as these projects are meaningful to us and help us both communicate a positive global message and act as responsible global citizens.