How Chopard’s Sustainable Practices Make Julia Roberts Cooler

Having ensured that the gold it uses is fully traceable, Chopard now sets its sights on greening its stainless steel — and its celebrity fans are on board.
by Lynette Koh

Chopard Julia Roberts

For superstar Julia Roberts, there is an unexpected upside to working with Swiss jewellery and watch brand Chopard: In the eyes of her three teenage children, it makes her cooler. During a Chopard press conference at Watches & Wonders, a major watch fair that took place in Geneva in March, the celebrated actress shared how Chopard’s sustainable practices had attracted her to the brand. Referring to Gen Z’s well-documented awareness of environmental issues, Roberts added, “My street cred really goes up with my kids.”

Her partnership with Chopard began in 2021, when she first starred in campaigns for the Happy Sport and Happy Diamonds collections. Seated between Chopard co-presidents and siblings Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Roberts recalled how Chopard was one of the pioneering, sustainably minded luxury brands, having embarked on its ethical gold initiative in 2013. “They’re forerunners… One of the things that attracted me to begin with was how they completely revamped their gold practices. That is something I was aware of before our partnership came to pass.”

“Consumers are asking smart questions and making their purchases based on more than just what catches the eye.” 


The brand’s environmental responsibility began in 2013, when Livia Giuggioli, an Italian film producer and environmental activist, asked Caroline about the origins of the gold used by the brand. The Chopard artistic director recalled, “I said, ‘Actually, I don’t know’. When I came back (to Switzerland), I said to my brother, ‘We have to do something about where all our raw materials come from. That is how the journey started in 2013. By 2018, we were using 100 per cent ethical gold.”

Under the programme, Chopard uses only responsibly sourced gold for all its jewellery and timepieces. In 2019, the company turned its attention to another metal it uses in large amounts — stainless steel. That year, it launched a new sporty-chic timepiece, the Alpine Eagle, which was also its first watch made from Lucent Steel.

Aside from being more resistant and lustrous than regular stainless steel, Lucent Steel has another unusual defining characteristic — it is partially made of recycled steel. This material is forged from high-quality industrial scraps from Swiss watchmakers, including Chopard, as well as high-grade steel from the medical, aerospace, and automotive industries.

Karl-Friedrich elaborated, “Lucent Steel is shinier… and 1.5 times more resistant to abrasions than normal steel. The challenge was to keep all these characteristics while increasing the percentage of recycled steel.”

The company succeeded in doing so after four years of research and development with key suppliers, such as Voestalpine Bohler Edelstahl, a subsidiary of Austrian steel and technology group Voestalpine. While the Lucent Steel used in the earliest Alpine Eagle watches comprised 70 per cent recycled steel, this figure has since increased. By the end of this year, all Chopard steel watches will comprise 80 per cent recycled steel. By 2025, that figure will be at least 90 per cent.


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Sharing that Chopard uses 25 to 30 tonnes of the metal a year, Karl-Friedrich noted, “By using recycled steel and by recycling steel, less new steel has to be introduced into the circuit. The carbon footprint can be reduced by 30 per cent if we go into 80 per cent (recycled steel in Lucent Steel). If we manage to reach 90, that would be 40 per cent less impact on the environment. I think that’s sizeable.”

Indeed, taking responsibility for their practices every step of the way is something luxury brands can no longer ignore. As Roberts observed: “Consumers are asking smart questions and making their purchases based on more than just what catches the eye. Those days are over.”

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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