IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 (Ref. IW388102) with blue MiraTex strap (Photo: IWC)

After stomping down countless catwalks, gracing over 1,200 magazine covers and being the face of numerous fragrances and lingerie lines, it’s easy to forget that Gisele Bündchen’s stunning visage has also been a force for environmental good.

Since 2009, the supermodel, actress and author of Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Program, and was awarded Greenest Celebrity at the 2011 International Green Awards. And now, she can add Environmental & Community Projects Advisor at IWC to her hat rack.

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Given her experience with causes that advocate for biodiversity and wildlife, IWC created the role for her as part of its ongoing efforts toward greater sustainability in its watchmaking.

“I’m excited to partner with IWC on our shared purpose of protecting our planet,” shares Bündchen. “Our sustainability journeys both started with the realisation that we had a responsibility to do more. That we could use our voices and influence to make a positive impact on the environment and society.”

Gisele Bündchen IWC Portugieser Chronograph
IWC Portugieser Chronograph (Ref. IW371617)
Photo: IWC

As a major player in the luxury watch space, IWC, too, has considerable reach, and has been using it to set an example for greener practices in the industry. In 2020, the company declared several goals to accomplish by 2022, and has already hit at least half of them. These include achieving certification for the use of fully traceable and responsibly sourced gold and platinum, switching to purchasing 100 percent renewable energy, developing and piloting blueprints for sustainable events, and even gaining the Equal Salary certification in Switzerland.

By the end of this year, IWC is also confident it will phase out its use of forestry products like paper, cardboard, wood and furniture, that are not certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and that it will double its annual corporate volunteering hours from 2020, as well as double the number of women in managerial positions from 2017.

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IWC Sustainability Committee
IWC Sustainability Committee
Photo: IWC

But IWC didn’t just start pushing for societal and environmental change on a whim. For years it has been partnering with organisations like Laureus Sport for Good and Save the Children, and was the first Swiss luxury watch brand to publish a sustainability report according to the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) back in 2018. Formerly a heavy 60-page document, IWC has revamped its report this year to offer a more engaging magazine-style format, which you can read at its website.

IWC Pilot's Chronograph 41 (Ref. IW388102) with blue MiraTex strap
Pilot’s Chronograph 41 (Ref. IW388102) with a blue MiraTex™ strap
Photo: IWC

On a more tangible consumer level, IWC also launched its TimberTex™ straps last year, made from 80 percent sustainably sourced plant-based fibres. In fact, 2022 welcomes the addition of new MiraTex™ straps, a “miracle textile” engineered in partnership with US-based material innovators Natural Fiber Welding. The straps are composed of plant parts, minerals, FSC-certified natural rubber, and fillers like cork powder and mineral colourants. They contain no petrochemicals or plastics, and require no tanning the way leather does, resulting in a completely recyclable and circular product.

Says Franziska Gsell, IWC’s Chief Marketing Officer and Sustainability Committee Chair: “We continue to move ahead in our sustainability journey, always questioning what more we can do in material innovation, energy use and societal impact to be even more sustainable. We keenly understand our responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment, to work towards a more equitable society and to show that luxury does not need to mean excess. Nor be excessive.”

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