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WE CARE
Mondaine. Sustainable Swiss watchmaker.

«Sustainability for the Mondaine Group goes beyond ecology. It is our concern to question and improve processes and our corporate culture not only from an ecological but also from a social and economic point of view. Mondaine has been taking steps towards a more sustainable future for more than 30 years.

WE CARE means that we assume social and ecological responsibility with a corporate culture that inspires our consumers, trading partners and employees to act sustainably. We want to create awareness that the contribution of each individual to an ecologically and socially careful way of life is important and that it must always be better. With our products and our actions, we as an SME are ambassadors for this attitude to life. »

Andre Bernheim, co-owner and board member of the Mondaine Watch Ltd group.

Our commitment

More information about our commitment to sustainability is now available in our Sustainability Report 2020.

Ahead of the times when it comes to sustainability

MONDAINE is the Swiss watch brand that is famous for transforming the iconic Swiss station clock into a design that people can wear on their wrists, hang on their wall or place on their desk. But alongside their high recognition factor, these wrist watches have another key attribute: sustainable production. Far from being a recent attempt to keep up with a contemporary trend, sustainability has been part of Mondaine Watch Ltd corporate philosophy for over 25 years. How did this come about? And what goals is the company still pursuing? Co-owner André Bernheim answers these questions in an interview published by the Tages Anzeiger in their sustainability special edition in December 2019.

André Bernheim: There is growing demand from consumers for sustainable products nowadays. How relevant is this issue for your company?

Sustainability is part of our corporate culture and our brand identity. And of course, we've also noticed that this topic finally attracts a lot more attention. That's a welcome development - but it has some negative consequences as well. It's unfortunate that concepts like "ecology" and "sustainability" have become buzzwords that many companies adopt to embellish their image. But some of those firms show little - if any - genuine commitment to the cause. And in the watchmaking industry too, it's my personal view that not enough is being done.

To what extent is MONDAINE different?

We've had an ecology officer since the early 1990s: my brother Ronnie held this post at first, and then I took over. So this issue is established as a matter for our corporate management. To take one example: in 1992, we collected waste metal from a scrap heap in Zurich. We had this material melted down in Switzerland, and then we used it to manufacture metal cases for our watches. We recycled over ten tonnes of used metal during this project, for which we were honored with the Alp Action Award. Admittedly, that didn't bring about global change - but even back then, we wanted to show that an SME such as ours can play its part in sustainability. And if we can do it, the large companies ought to be able to manage it too. We were considerably ahead of the times with our sustainability concept; Retailers and consumers were still turning a deaf ear to it in those days.

In 2017, MONDAINE launched the essence collection – with the focus on sustainable materials. What was involved?

We broke new ground with the MONDAINE SBB Swiss railway clock design with our essence line and in terms of ecology, we deliberately went one step further. 70 percent of the cases for our essence watches consist of natural materials – ricinus (wonder tree plant) with the addition of glass powder, to be precise. 50 percent of the strap is made from the wonder tree oil too. According to choice, we also offer straps made of recycled PET bottles with a cork lining, and almost 100 percent of the packaging consists of recycled PET bottles. And a really cool touch is that this watch pouch serves later on as a second use as a pouch for a smartphone or sunglasses. We were already producing watch straps from recycled PET five years ago, and we are using cork – also natural raw material – in other MONDAINE collections as well. We are constantly researching other natural and more ecological materials. This is what we call: Better is Better, step by step becoming a more sustainable brand. I'm therefore of the opinion that a company should go beyond merely integrating the sustainability concept into its products.

So where else can sustainability be implemented?

As a non-listed SME with our own development department, good connections with component manufacturers and our own watch production facility in Biberist (Solothurn, Switzerland), we very deliberately make use of opportunities to pursue sustainability as an integral element of our corporate goals. One example that demonstrates this: the photovoltaic system on the roof of our Swiss factory, which we put into operation in September 2019. Its 600 m 2 of solar panels produce clean power, making us about 70 percent independent of electricity from outside sources. All Swiss Made Mondaine Watch brand watches from are produced with this solar power quota. But as you'd expect, we're also active in many other areas with the aim of becoming even more sustainable. We are calling our company mission: WE CARE.

What exactly are you doing?

We believe that great achievements can also become possible by making large numbers of small-scale adjustments and improvements. As well as taking various steps in house, we've defined specific sustainability goals for the future. One of the core goals is to steadily make our packing materials and watch packaging more sustainable – for instance, by using less material and choosing more environment-friendly materials with less volume. At the same time, we're continuing our search for more sustainable materials that we can use to manufacture our watches. We are also examining our entire supply chain flow, and looking for ways to improve it. We will achieve continuous improvement, and we'll reduce our ecological footprint. For this reason, we have also launched the first watch recycling scheme in Switzerland.

Watch recycling

That's right. Because it's a paradox that in Switzerland, the country of watches, you can return almost everything for recycling – except watches. So, consumers who want to dispose of one or more watches is welcome to send them to our Swiss factory. Mondaine will even take back watches from other manufacturers – but not plastic watches in that case, because it's often not possible to dismantle them. We take the watches apart and pass the components on so they can be recycled as ecologically as possible. Will we change the world by doing this? No. But it is a step towards cradle to cradle, and each step counts to support our environment. If it works well in Switzerland, we will expand this initiative with all our distributors worldwide. Once again, we want to show that something like this is possible - and if we can do it, large companies should certainly be able to manage it. Taken together, all these steps will then generate a real impact.

TA Switzerland, Jan 2020

Swiss watch brand Mondaine is known for putting the iconic train station clock on people's wrists.
The wristwatches are not only characterized by their high recognition value - but also by their sustainable production. Because for Mondaine, sustainability is not a recent zeitgeist topic, but has been part of the company philosophy for over 25 years. In an interview, co-owner André Bernheim explains how this came about and what goals are still being pursued:

André Bernheim, today's consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products. How relevant is the topic for your company?

Sustainability is part of our corporate and brand culture. Of course, we have also noticed that the topic is receiving a lot of attention. This is welcome - but also has negative consequences. Unfortunately, terms such as "ecology" and "sustainability" have become buzzwords that many companies adorn themselves with. There are also those with little to no real engagement. In my opinion, not enough is being done in the watchmaking industry either.

How is MONDAINE different?

We have had an ecology officer since the early 1990s, initially it was my brother Ronnie, now it's me. The 'topic is therefore located in the management of the company. In 1992, for example, we collected scrap metal from a scrap heap in Zurich. We had this melted down in Switzerland and used it to make metal cases for our watches. As part of this campaign, for which we received the Alp Action Award, we recycled over ten tons of scrap metal. Admittedly, that isn't going to change the world, but we wanted to show even then that an SME like us can also do its part towards greater sustainability. And if we can do it, the great Finns should be able to do it too. We were way ahead of our time with our sustainability thinking, and retailers and consumers still didn't listen to us.

Mondaine released the essence collection in 2017, in which sustainable materials?

With the Mondaine SBB essence line, we broke new ground and deliberately went one step further in terms of ecology. The cases of our essence watches consist of 70 percent natural materials, namely castor oil with the addition of glass powder. The bracelet is also made from 50 percent castor oil. Optionally we also offer straps made from recycled PET bottles with cork on the bottom and the packaging is made from almost 100 percent recycled PET bottles. The cool thing about it: this watch case can later be used as a case for a smartphone or sunglasses. Five years ago we made watch straps from recycled PET and we also use the natural raw material cork in other Mondaine collections. I am also of the opinion that a company should not only anchor "sustainability" in its product and service portfolio.

Where else?

As an unlisted SME with its own development department, good connections to component manufacturers and our own watch production in Biberist SO, we use the opportunity to pursue the topic of sustainability as an integral part of the company's goals. We show this, for example, with the photovoltaic system on the roof of our factory, which we put into operation in September. 600 m2 of solar surface produce clean electricity, which makes us about 70 percent independent of external electricity. All Swiss Made watches of all brands from Mondaine are produced with this solar power share. Of course, we are also active in many other areas in order to become even more sustainable.

And what exactly are you doing?

We believe that greater things can be achieved by turning and improving many cogs. In addition to internal company measures, we have formulated concrete sustainability goals for the future. One important thing is to make our packaging material and watch packaging more and more sustainable - for example thanks to less and more environmentally friendly material with a smaller volume. At the same time, we continue to research new sustainable materials that we can use to manufacture our watches. We also follow the entire material flow and look for improvements. We will continuously improve and reduce our ecological footprint. For this reason we also launched the first watch recycling in Switzerland.

A watch recycling?

Exactly. Because, paradoxically, in watchmaking country Switzerland you can return almost anything for recycling - except watches. So if you want to dispose of your watch(es), you can send them to us. We even take back watches from other manufacturers, but in this case no plastic watches because these often cannot be dismantled. We disassemble the watches and recycle the components as ecologically as possible. Are we changing the world with this? No. But as I said, it's about turning many small wheels. We would like to show once again that something like this is possible - and if we can do it, then big companies should certainly do it. The sum of all these measures then creates a real impact.

TA Switzerland, Jan 2020

Photovoltaic solar system


Conversion of production to solar energy:

In September 2019, its own photovoltaic solar system was put into operation on the roof of the Swiss Mondaine factory. It can cover around 80% of your entire electricity needs. In the summer months, the plant will even generate enough electricity to supply the power station with excess electricity. The new solar plant is an important milestone for Mondaine and enables the company to convert its production largely to solar energy.

https://youtu.be/QMB_SxdfxP8

WATCHES RECYCLED


From October 1st, 2019, consumers can return used watches to our SAV. There the watches are disassembled and the various materials are made available to the appropriate recycling companies.

This service is carried out for all Mondaine Group brands as well as for third-party metal watches.

This initiative is currently limited to Switzerland.

WE CARE – our task


Mondaine is currently reviewing the environmental footprint of its internal and external processes. The focus is on recycling, reducing the use of all types of resources and energy consumption. The packaging materials and the entire supply chain are also checked for sustainability.