November 29 marked the beginning of construction at the TAG Heuer factories in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the Swiss Avant-Garde brand signed agreements with Swiss energy distributor Viteos, and with Planair, a Swiss consulting firm specialized in environmental issues, to equip the rooftops of its four buildings with solar panels.
The decision to undertake the project came at the direction of President and CEO Jean-Christophe Babin following Leonardo DiCaprio’s visit to the TAG Heuer factory in March this year.
“Leonardo visited the factory with an eye on everything that could be done to reduce our energy consumption” said Babin. “His factory visit in La Chaux-de-Fonds turned into an inspiring and creative environmental audit. Leonardo combined his environmental mind with a highly respectful approach toward our staff, making his visit an impactful highlight of TAG Heuer’s 150th anniversary celebration.”
In reaching this decision, many aspects of the company’s sustainable development policy were discussed and several innovative ideas were proposed. Planair supported TAG Heuer in conducting feasibility studies on the various options. An agreement on the photovoltaic panels was reached at the end of September. TAG Heuer is committed to installing over 500 photovoltaic panels on the roofs of its four buildings in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Annual electricity production should reach 100,000 kWh. Construction will continue through December, and the new solar-powered electrical system should beginning supplying power this winter.
The project, which is expected to cost 750,000 Swiss francs, is co-financed by TAG Heuer and Viteos. The photovoltaic panels will be supplied by a European company in order to limit the carbon footprint of shipping the equipment. The deal also includes TAG Heuer’s commitment to local environmental treaties to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17% over the next ten years, positioning them as a contributor to Switzerland’s pursuit of Kyoto Protocol objectives.
This announcement coincides with the release of a first Leonardo DiCaprio co-designed mechanical watch, the Aquaracer 500M, which was redesigned by DiCaprio as part of an initiative to raise money in support of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Green Cross International, two of the most influential and effective environmental organizations in the world.
“TAG Heuer is a company that gets it”, declared DiCaprio in a speech in Basel earlier this year. “Because TAG Heuer understands that they have a corporate mission, but also a global mission, a mission that is bigger than all of us. TAG Heuer is a company that has taken a stand for what it believes in… And I’m proud to be here today, celebrating a company that is standing up to give back to environmental non profit organizations alongside me.”
Leonardo DiCaprio meets with CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.
One of TAG Heuer’s four buildings in La Chaux-de-Fonds.