Corporate Social Responsibility

Watches of Switzerland Environmental Statement

Watches of Switzerland is committed to being an environmentally conscious and responsible retailer. Our environmental programme is a major part of our overall commitment to be a socially active and responsible company. We recognise that we have a duty to identify and minimise the impact that we have on the environment.

Over recent years we have introduced a number of environmental initiatives into our business. We will continue to make improvements and to harness the enthusiasm within our business whilst moving to a more structured, systematic and measurable environmental programme.

Our commitments:

  • Raw Materials: We comply with the relevant international laws and industry regulations when sourcing our products and insist on written guarantees from suppliers that our products conform with international regulations
  • Endangered species: We occasionally sell products made from specialist skins and exotic woods. We insist that suppliers provide us with written guarantees that these products comply with the international laws and industry regulations
  • Reducing our contribution to climate change: We will quantify the energy, fuel and water used in our business and develop and implement an action plan to achieve year-on-year reductions
  • Minimising waste: We will continue to take steps to reduce packaging in our supply chain and increase the re-use and recycling of materials
  • Communicating clearly with our staff and suppliers: We will engage with our staff and our main suppliers to look for their ideas and support in delivering our programme of environmental improvements
  • We are an active member of the Responsible Jewellery Council
  • These principles and commitments apply to all businesses owned by Watches of Switzerland.

We will continue to improve by:

  • Capturing the data that we need to form a company baseline and then setting targets for improvement
  • Raising awareness of our achievements and targets with our staff
  • Assessing which accredited environmental management system (EMS) is most appropriate for our business and aligning our programme accordingly

We will continue to roll-out out the Aurum Holdings Code of Conduct to our suppliers

Examples of our principles in action

We at Watches of Switzerland believe that we should go beyond the basics of ethical business practice and embrace our responsibility to society and the environment. The four components of our programme of corporate social responsibility are:

  • People
  • Supply chain
  • Environment
  • Community

The information below shows the actions that we have taken to improve our environmental performance. It charts the progress that we have made and highlights the areas where we will make further progress.

Raw materials

Diamonds: All of our diamonds are acquired from legitimate sources which have no involvement in funding conflicts. Watches of Switzerland is a signatory of the Kimberley Process certification scheme which requires guarantees of diamond origin through the supply chain. (

Gold: All of the gold that we buy is from legitimate sources. Watches of Switzerland is a signatory of CAFOD’s 12 Golden Rules initiative ( to ensure gold mining minimises damage to the environment and communities local to the mines. Watches of Switzerland has also taken the decision to object to the Bristol Bay gold mining operations in Alaska due to the environmental impact of the proposals. As well as objection to this scheme we have undertaken not to buy gold from Bristol Bay (

Silver: All of our providers of silver giftware are established UK companies. We have recently conducted an audit of our silver giftware suppliers to ensure that responsible environmental practices exist through the supply chain. We also buy silver jewellery through a small number of distributors who are included in our process of Quality Assurance checks and visits.

Specialist skins: A small number of our products use animal skins. This is normally restricted to watch straps. Our watch strap manufacturers only source skins from farmed sources and conform to the relevant international laws that include the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ( We only buy watches through the most reputable manufacturers. Despite this we are asking our watch suppliers to confirm that any animal skins used are from farmed and sustainably managed sources.

Wood: We sell a very small number of products that incorporate hard woods or hard wood veneers such as clocks, jewellery boxes and watch cases. We are in regular contact with the relevant suppliers to request information about the hard wood origin to ensure that suppliers source wood from, legal, reputable and managed sources. If we find anywhere this is not the case we will work with any supplier to find alternatives that are sourced sustainably. Our own brand wooden presentation boxes are made from beach wood which is sourced sustainably. We do not use tropical hard woods in the fixtures and fittings of our jewellery showrooms and offices. We will work with our designers to find Forest Stewardship Council (FSC )wood as an alternative to any non-FSC wood that is specified in our new store, workshop and office designs.

Product packaging: At the warehouse and distribution level, paper, cardboard and space filling are re-used and recycled. 600 re-usable tubs are in circulation in our showroom network for distributing and returning stock, cutting our need for cardboard packaging by 15%. From a retail perspective we have stopped buying polythene branded bags and use recyclable paper bags instead. Our main packaging supplier (Keenpac) operates an ISO14001 accredited Environment Management System.

Printed materials: Our printed materials available in-store, and the catalogues that we send directly to customers are printed by five printing companies who all source paper through the FSC Chain of Custody Certification or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). All of these companies have robust environmental programmes with three operating to the 1SO14001 standard.

Energy: In 2005 we engaged the Carbon Trust to conduct an energy assessment audit of a sample of our showrooms. This was followed in 2006 by a meter reading trial conducted in conjunction with our retained energy consultants. The trial demonstrated the level of opportunity to reduce energy use in our showrooms. This was followed by the pilot installation of smart meters in 12 showrooms. Over the same period we completed an initiative to replace fluorescent tubes throughout our network with a more efficient product, and replaced showroom window presentation light bulbs for equivalent light bulbs that create less heat. We have recently replaced our head office computer servers with equipment that requires less energy to run and significantly reduces the need for cooling. Our head office building has lighting that is controlled by movement sensors which also take account of natural light levels and dim lights accordingly. We are gathering the data needed to map our energy consumption and energy trends on a site by site basis. Once we have done this we will set targets to reduce energy use and develop a plan to hit these targets.

Water: Over the past four years we have installed water meters in all possible sites across our retail and office network. Water meter data is now used to identify sites with exceptional water use and to resolve problems. We will now gather the baseline data for water consumption so that we can benchmark our showrooms, develop targets and subsequently a plan to reduce the water that we use.

Waste: At Watches of Switzerland’ main office buildings in Leicester, waste is segregated into paper, card and plastic which is recycled by our contractor, Veolia. Confidential waste paper is shredded and then recycled. Printer toners are recycled in our showrooms and office buildings. Second-hand office IT and electrical equipment is re-used and recycled by Environ. Batteries are recycled across our showroom network with each showroom having a bespoke container that is collected by a specialist recycler. We comply with the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Directive which forms part of our company policy and procedures. Paper, cardboard and plastic is recycled in our network of high street showrooms through a national recycling contract. We have identified that more needs to be done to look for ways of re-using and re-cycling waste from fitting out new stores or re-fitting existing showrooms. Although valuable display equipment is often stored and re-used, we always work towards using economically viable ways for us to divert as much of this waste as possible away from landfill.

Transport: Our distribution and transport footprint is much smaller than most retailers. Our products are distributed by a third party parcel distribution company. We are in the process of trialling a new distribution company who has strong environmental credentials and operates state-of-the-art systems that reduce transport miles. Business air travel is very limited in the company, but we do operate a fleet of more than 100 company cars. In 2006 we moved to a diesel-only car policy which increased the average MPG of the car fleet. We are currently reviewing the company car policy and arrangements.

Staff and supplier communications: Watches of Switzerland is a business with strong company values combined with an embedded culture of cost consciousness. These provide a foundation to take the range of environmental initiatives that we have introduced and turn them into a more visible and structured programme of environmental change.

Disability Discrimination Policy

Watches of Switzerland' aim is to provide an inclusive and accessible environment for all by proactively fulfilling our obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and any associated UK and European legislation.

As a company, we will endeavour to evolve and improve the access and facilities our properties provide by making 'reasonable adjustments' to help our disabled customers enjoy their visit. Unfortunately, there are some premises where alterations would be detrimental to the wellbeing of the building, which may lead to certain access points and facilities being impossible to provide. In this situation, we will seek to provide an alternative shopping location where possible.

Accessible premises

We will take all reasonable steps to provide easy access for all customers to our buildings and our facilities.

Training and awareness

We will provide disability awareness training for our customer facing employees and raise awareness of accessibility throughout the company.

Accessible buildings are important in achieving access, but our employees’ attitude and awareness has a vital role to play.

Accessible information

We strive to obey the spirit of the DDA with respect to the provision of the services online. The pages on our website conform at a minimum to level A compliance, as specified by the web content accessibility and endorsed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Equal Opportunity Policy

Watches of Switzerland have in place an Equal Opportunities policy as we welcome a diverse workforce. Our recruitment process allows people with disabilities to have fair and equal access to employment opportunities.

We will make reasonable adjustments to roles and environments to accommodate disabled applicants and for employees who become disabled while employed by Watches of Switzerland. Any acts of disability discrimination will be dealt with via our internal policies.

Watches of Switzerland welcomes constructive comments from people with disabilities about our properties as these may help us to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the access and facilities at our premises, this in turn we hope will make your future visits even more enjoyable.

The Responsible Jewellery Council

Watches of Switzerland are proud to be accredited members of The Responsible Jewellery Council. The Responsible Jewellery Council is an international not-for-profit organisation representing over 450 member companies across the gold and diamond jewellery supply chain.

The Council

The Responsible Jewellery Council is an international, not-for-profit organisation established to reinforce consumer confidence in the jewellery industry by advancing responsible business practices throughout the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain.

The Council aims to build 'a community of confidence' across every step of the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain in all geographies, and among businesses large and small. It seeks to work with a wide range of stakeholders in defining and implementing responsible jewellery practices through the RJC's certification system.

Membership opportunity is open to all businesses and associations participating in the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain and / or engaged in activities that have a potential impact on consumer confidence in diamond or gold jewellery.


"To advance responsible ethical, social and environmental practices, which respect human rights, throughout the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain, from mine to retail."


"Our vision is to increase consumer confidence in diamond and gold jewellery. We will accomplish our vision through the successful implementation of a system for certification of responsible business practices that is widely recognised and valued by our stakeholders. The certification system will cover a significant volume of global diamond and gold jewellery production, resulting in the improvement of business practices in the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain, and provide a community of confidence among our Members."


Anti-trust Policy and rules

The Council takes all of its legal obligations, including those imposed by competition law, extremely seriously. The Council has adopted Anti-trust Policy and Rules which seek to ensure that the Council and its Members are aware of their competition law obligations and at all times act in accordance with all applicable competition rules. Council Members are required to abide by the Anti-trust Compliance Rules as a condition of Membership.

Confidentiality Policy

The Responsible Jewellery Council places a high priority on the protection of confidential information in order to protect the privacy of its Members and employees, and the integrity of the Council. For more information, download the RJC Confidentiality Policy.

Environmental Policy

The Responsible Jewellery Council is committed to minimising its impact on the environment. As well as the commitment of Council Members to environmental performance through the RJC Principles and Code of Practices, the Council seeks to address environmental issues in its own activities. For more information, download the RJC Environmental Policy.

Assessment of our environmental impact

The retail jewellery business involves selling small, high value products. These products have a very long product lifecycle and most of our raw materials are highly recyclable and actively recycled (30% of the world's gold on sale is estimated to be re-cycled).

The high product value-to-volume ratio in jewellery means that transport and storage are small when compared with many retailers. Consequently our footprint is limited. Distribution of our products to our network of showrooms happens through a parcel carrier leading to efficient distribution. Similarly, our industry has very high sales density and showrooms are therefore relatively compact. The multi-site nature of our retail showrooms and the similarity of our own outlets make our network easy to benchmark both internally and against other retailers.

Retailing jewellery does however require significant display lighting which in turn increases the need for air-conditioned cooling. The nature of our retail business often demands that we fit showrooms to a high specification leading to a high cost per square foot and greater use of materials. At the luxury end of our range, products frequently have elaborate packaging.

The retail jewellery business does not have, by corporate standards, high environmental impact. However, the most important area of environmental risk sits within our supply chain, particularly in the countries where many of our raw materials originate. Careful management and monitoring of both our environmental and social impact at the source is crucial if Watches of Switzerland is to be successful in achieving its environmental objectives.

In summary, we consider that Watches of Switzerland is compliant and careful when sourcing products to ensure that buying decisions do not lead to environmental or social damage. We will continue to expand our programme of social and environmental quality checking. At home, we have made environmental progress through a number of initiatives over recent years. The business now needs to put in place a more structured and measurable environmental programme and to re-engage with staff and stakeholders to shape behaviour and reduce its environmental impact.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations

Watches of Switzerland are complying with the WEEE Regulations by offering instore take back - this means that you can return your WEEE back to us instore on a like for like basis when making a new purchase.

Each year in the UK we throw away over 1.2 million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste.

This increase is mainly down to:

  • New technologies being developed
  • Affluent society
  • Throw away lifestyle

Over 75% of waste electrical goods end up in landfill, where lead and other toxins contained in the electrical goods can cause soil and water contamination.

Many of the electrical items that we throw away can be repaired or recycled. Recycling items helps to save natural finite resources and also reduces the environmental and health risks associated with sending waste electrical goods to landfill.

The Crossed out wheelie bin symbol

Electrical and Electronic Equipment that was made after 13 August 2005 should display the crossed out wheelie bin symbol on the packaging or product. Either send the product to be repaired and reused or recycle it at your nearest recycle centre.

WEEE Registration Number: WEE/JK1784ST

Battery Regulations Registration Number: BPRN00952

Watches of Switzerland Vendor Code of Conduct

Watches of Switzerland are committed to operating in accordance with ethical trading standards as set out below. Watches of Switzerland will make every effort to work with its vendors in order to reach the standards set out in this code.

There are 12 key principles to Watches of Switzerland’ Vendor Code of Conduct and definitions of each are provided below:

  1. Employment is freely chosen
  2. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
  3. Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  4. Child labour shall not be used
  5. Living wages are paid
  6. Working hours are not excessive
  7. No discrimination is practised
  8. Regular employment is provided
  9. No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
  10. Responsible environmental practices
  11. Zero tolerance of conflict products

Compliance to the code

1. Employment is freely chosen
1.1 There is no forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour.
1.2 Workers are not required to lodge 'deposits' or their identity papers with their employer and are free to leave their employer after reasonable notice.
2. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
2.1 Workers, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively.
2.2 The employer adopts an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions and their organisational activities.
2.3 Workers' representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace.
2.4 Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer facilitates, and does not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.
3. Working conditions are safe and hygienic
3.1 A safe and hygienic working environment shall be provided, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards. Adequate steps shall be taken to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, associated with, or occurring in the course of work, by minimising, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment.
3.2 Workers shall receive regular and recorded health and safety training, and such training shall be repeated for new or reassigned workers.
3.3 Access to clean toilet facilities and to potable water, and, if appropriate, sanitary facilities for food storage shall be provided.
3.4 Accommodation, where provided, shall be clean, safe, and meet the basic needs of the workers.
3.5 The company observing the Code shall assign responsibility for health and safety to a senior management representative.
4. Child labour shall not be used
4.1 There shall be no new recruitment of child labour.
4.2 Companies shall develop or participate in and contribute to policies and programmes which provide for the transition of any child found to be performing child labour to enable her or him to attend and remain in quality education until no longer a child.
4.3 Children and young persons under 18 shall not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions.
4.4 These policies and procedures shall conform to the provisions of the relevant ILO standards.
5. Living wages are paid
5.1 Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. In any event wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income.
5.2 All workers shall be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions in respect to wages before they enter employment and about the particulars of their wages for the pay period concerned each time that they are paid.
5.3 Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure shall not be permitted nor shall any deductions from wages not provided for by national law be permitted without the expressed permission of the worker concerned. All disciplinary measures should be recorded.
6. Working hours are not excessive
6.1 Working hours comply with national laws and benchmark industry standards, whichever affords greater protection.
6.2 In any event, workers shall not on a regular basis be required to work in excess of 48 hours per week and shall be provided with at least one day off for every 7 day period on average. Overtime shall be voluntary, shall not exceed 12 hours per week, shall not be demanded on a regular basis and shall always be compensated at a premium rate.
7. No discrimination is practised
7.1 There is no discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.
8. Regular employment is provided
8.1 To every extent possible work performed must be on the basis of a recognised employment relationship established through national law and practice.
8.2 Obligations to employees under labour or social security laws and regulations arising from the regular employment relationship shall not be avoided through the use of labour-only contracting, subcontracting, or home-working arrangements, or through apprenticeship schemes where there is no real intent to impart skills or provide regular employment, nor shall any such obligations be avoided through the excessive use of fixed-term contracts of employment.
9. No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
9.1 Physical abuse or discipline, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited.
10. Responsible environmental practices
Watches of Switzerland believes that a business should protect, and where possible, improve the environment, promote sustainable development and prevent the wasteful use of natural resources. We expect our business associates to comply with all current local environmental laws and regulations. Additionally, we encourage our vendors to promote responsible environmental practices.
11. Zero tolerance of conflict products
Watches of Switzerland neither supports nor condones the purchase of so-called 'conflict diamonds' or any other conflict product. All suppliers must comply with the Kimberly Process. Watches of Switzerland will not knowingly purchase or sell any products that originate from a group or a country which supports or engages in illegal, inhumane or terrorist activities.
12. Compliance to the code
Compliance to Watches of Switzerland' business ethics code is mandatory if you are going to do business with us. Watches of Switzerland intends to monitor compliance by means of factory audits conducted by trained Watches of Switzerland employees. Vendors are requested to provide Watches of Switzerland with full access to their production facilities and to any documents pertinent to legal employment or environmental practices. Any vendor found to be in violation of this code will be notified of corrective action required to avoid termination of our business relationship.

Conflict Diamonds

All diamonds are only acquired through legitimate sources that are not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with the United Nations Resolutions.

What are Conflict Diamonds (also known as Blood Diamonds)?

Conflict Diamonds are diamonds which are illegally traded to fund conflict.

The United Nations defines conflict diamonds as: "Diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognised governments"

What has been done about conflict diamonds?

The diamond industry, governments, non-governmental organisations and the United Nations adopted the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to help eliminate the trade of conflict diamonds. Conflict free diamonds are transported in a tamper-resistant container and must be accompanied by a government-validated Kimberley Process Certificate.

Watches of Switzerland insists that all our suppliers guarantee that any diamonds are conflict free, and that written guarantees are provided by the supplier to that effect.

Visit Diamond Facts to find out more about conflict diamonds.

Dirty Gold

The 'No Dirty Gold Campaign' raises awareness amongst customers, retailers and the general public about the impacts of gold mining. The mining industry has been asked to address its practices so that gold is not produced at the expense of communities, worker and the environment.

Watches of Switzerland is fully supportive of the campaign and ensures commitment and compliance from all suppliers.

Watches of Switzerland are full supporters of the 'No Dirty Gold Campaign' and their 12 Golden Rules for mining practice.

The 12 Golden Rules

  1. Respect for basic human rights outlined in international conventions and law
  2. Free, prior and informed consent of affected communities
  3. Safe working conditions
  4. Respect for workers’ rights and labour standards (including the eight core ILO conventions)
  5. Ensure that the operations are not located in areas of armed or militarised conflict
  6. Ensure that projects do not force communities off their lands
  7. No dumping of mine wastes into the ocean, rivers or streams
  8. Ensure that projects are not located in protected areas, fragile ecosystems or other areas of high conservation or ecological value
  9. Ensure that projects do not generate sulphuric acid in perpetuity
  10. Cover all costs of closing down and cleaning up mine sites
  11. Fully disclose information about social and environmental effects of projects

Watches of Switzerland CSR Strategy

At Watches of Switzerland, we believe that we should go beyond the basics of ethical business practices and embrace our responsibility to the people and the environment. By doing this, we believe this will bring sustained and collective value to our employees, our customers and society.

We have identified this by taking our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy into four key areas: People, Supply Chain, Environment and Community.


We are dedicated to creating a workplace in which rights, needs and unique contributions of every employee are consistently respected. We have in place values under the title of ‘The Watches of Switzerland Way.’

The Watches of Switzerland Way

Belief - We have faith and confidence in our product, in our service, our team and ourselves. We demonstrate a positive, 'can do' attitude in everything we do, constantly striving to instil belief in others - always pushing boundaries and showing initiative.

Trust and respect - We always listen and respond to individuals fairly, honestly and constructively, treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves. We aim to out-behave the competition through our morals, ethics and integrity.

Excellence - Always striving to improve, we aspire to flawless performance and don’t cut corners on quality. We empower people to be the best they can be, always raising the bar and learning from our mistakes.

Passion - We believe in working in a unique, energising and fun environment and not taking ourselves too seriously. We have spirit and are an inspiration to others, with a compelling desire to always go the extra mile.

Dedication - We take pride in everything we do and represent, constantly seeking to exceed expectations. Taking personal responsibility and always 'being there', our boundless enthusiasm drives us to become the most knowledgeable authority on what we do.

Teamwork - We actively encourage everyone to get involved and value all input. Through effective listening and sharing of ideas and feedback, we cherish both the team and the individual, developing mutual respect and support in order to continually grow.

Alongside these values, we constantly review people’s benefits whilst working at Watches of Switzerland, conduct annual appraisals and ensure equal opportunities throughout all our policies and procedures.

Supply chain - We believe that all individuals who work in our suppliers factories deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and are entitled to safe and fair working conditions.

Because we don't own the factories where our products are made, we regularly inspect them to ensure that working conditions meet our standards.

We have in place a robust code of conduct for suppliers, ensuring ethical trading practices are adhered to.

Environment - We believe that our success should not come at the expense of the environment, so we strive to operate in a way that is mindful of long term environmental sustainability.

Whether we are saving costs by reducing energy consumption or reducing our waste, we believe that reducing our impact on the environment can also result in positive business benefits.

We have in place a full environmental statement and policy stating our commitments and improvement measures.

Community - We are committed to supporting the communities where we live and work, through charity collections and donations. We also encourage our employees to take part in volunteering activities within the local community or to raise money for local charities.

Contributing to the local community is about much more than money. Our employees get involved by giving their time and skills, which is vital to enable us to build strong relationships and make a genuine difference to local people's lives.