Breitling puts sustainability in the spotlight with Salesforce
Luxury watchmaker manages emissions at every touchpoint with Net Zero Cloud
Breitling is a #SQUADONAMISSION to do better by making luxury more sustainable.
Entering the spotlight are sustainable processes, transparency, ethical materials, and all the timeless elegance you’d expect from high-end brands. Take Breitling, for example. Breitling has been crafting beautiful, luxurious watches since 1884. Like all luxury brands, it understands the importance of staying relevant to its customers and people. Today, nothing is more relevant than sustainability.
That’s why Breitling is a #squadonamission. Action by action Breitling is transforming its business to reduce the social and environmental impacts while inspiring its network of suppliers to do the same. Think 100% upcycled packaging, 100% Swiss Better Gold, and 100% renewable electricity across HQ operations.
The watchmaker got serious about sustainability in 2020, hiring Aurelia Figueroa as its inaugural Head of Sustainability to develop a comprehensive sustainability strategy. This resulted in a full-scope approach to sustainability across five pillars: product, planet, people, prosperity, and progress.
“We engaged nearly 100 global stakeholders including employees, customers, suppliers, business partners, and industry experts to shape our strategy in an inclusive manner,” she recalled. “From there we defined three leading areas to focus on, amongst a total of 10 material topics: social impact along the value chain, environmental issues, and product integrity. Salesforce helps us track meaningful insights throughout the value chain and is an important part of our overall strategy in both our product and planet pillars.”Breitling adopted Net Zero Cloud to support its sustainability strategy in 2022. Let’s take a closer look at how it has helped accelerate those sustainability squad goals in year one.
1. Better access to data
One of the biggest challenges around sustainability is being able to accurately collate data from multiple sources to calculate emissions accurately. In 2020 and 2021, the Breitling sustainability team manually collected data.
Breitling’s Sustainability Specialist Brice Boissonneault recounts the processes and challenges this entailed. “Carbon accounting involves gathering data from energy suppliers for our premises, across logistics and the supply chain, then calculating the emissions generated during production, and those of our partners,” he explained. “That’s not just time consuming, doing anything manually always introduces the possibility of human error.”
As well as increasing the speed and efficiency of calculating emissions, Breitling wanted to improve data integrity. Some supply chain emissions factors, for example, were based on older data. While this provided some value as a benchmark, it didn’t offer the level of accuracy the company was looking for.
Breitling turned to its partners along its supply chain in order to improve data quality and availability. In key categories, primary data was gathered. In order to manage the data, Breitling chose Salesforce Net Zero Cloud to manage its data across its full scope of carbon accounting. Today, data in Net Zero Cloud has helped the company establish a baseline against which it will evidence reductions as a result of its cooperation along the supply chain.
At same time, it is looking at materials used in boutiques, another key emissions category. “Building materials such as cement, wood, and glass all have a huge carbon footprint, but even the leather furniture and carpets cause emissions,” said Boissonneault.
2. Tracking scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions
Emissions are generally split into three categories. Scope 1 covers greenhouse gas emissions that are directly generated by the company, including heating, and fleet vehicles. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions generated from purchased energy including electricity. To capture this data, Breitling created standard processes in Salesforce for everything apart from boutiques, which Boissonneault explained require a building energy intensity approach based on the location.
Scope 3 emissions include purchased goods and services used by a company, downstream logistics and transportation, waste generated in operations, employee commuting, and business travel. In order to manage these diverse topics, Breitling has established a tailored approach to each. For example, along the supply chain it works with key suppliers to gather primary data and drive management efforts moving forward. For employee commuting, it issued a survey to gather data from employees globally. It complemented this approach with detailed assessments. For example, in cooperation with RMI in 2021, it conducted a product carbon footprint on its best-selling watch and unpacked more than 300 components to work out the carbon footprint of each and every part. This provided Breitling with a valuable first scoping of where the organisation’s greatest impacts along the supply chain lie from a product perspective.
3. Turning insights into action
With better visibility of its carbon footprint, Breitling could begin to identify opportunities to reduce emissions and its impact on the environment. It co-financed the development of a solar power plant for one lab grown diamond site and switched to a biogas heating system.
“Partnerships are important to drive meaningful action. We want to work with ethically minded suppliers who are equally focused on sustainability,” said Figueroa. “We now source 100% of our gold from the Swiss Better Gold Association, a public private partnership which improves the working and living conditions of small-scale gold mining communities. We have worked with the mines from which we source to establish high-quality primary emissions data and implement carbon insetting projects to reduce environmental impact.”
4. Inspiring people to prioritise sustainability
When it comes to sustainability, working together is vital to slow down the effects of climate change for a liveable planet in the future. And there are a lot of stakeholders invested in Breitling’s success.
“We report annually to the Carbon Disclosure Project, we’re committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative, we issue an annual Sustainability Report aligned with the World Economic Forum and International Business Council Stakeholder Capitalism metrics, and we’re accountable to internal stakeholders,” said Figueroa.
That’s a lot of people to report to, but with Salesforce, Boissonneault designed reports and tables to display relevant information to different bodies. For example, if he needs to report on the percentage of renewable energy used, Salesforce combines data from multiple sources into one dashboard at the tap of a button.
“Salesforce makes audits and assurance much easier. With accurate data at our fingertips we can focus on the things that matter, saving a huge amount of time,” he explained.
Anecdotes make great stories, but data is more inspiring when it comes to persuading other suppliers or companies to join the sustainability movement. Breitling builds close relationships with suppliers and a strong bi-direction sharing of best practice helps everyone to up their game.
“Suppliers turn to Brice for his expertise – he’s great at explaining complicated subjects in simple terms for companies who might not yet have dedicated staff to address these issues,” added Figueroa. “Salesforce is part of that. It shows people that managing emissions is more achievable than they think.”
5. Our Mission: do better throughout our scope of influence
Breitling actively encourages its people to unite into squads dedicated to a particular mission. The company believes camaraderie drives purpose and that together, we can achieve more than would be possible individually.
By building upon support across stakeholder groups for sustainability, Breitling has been able to achieve meaningful first steps across its strategy. Key contributors to its achievements to date have been employees, suppliers, and partner organisations. It is continuing to engage customers as well on the subject, building upon its product focused precedents to date with Econyl™ straps or upcycled packaging, for instance.
Today, Breitling staff who want to contribute to sustainability, environmental, or ethical initiatives are given paid leave to volunteer in the community or in nature. As recently as Climate Week 2022, employees were offered four activities over the course of one week in order to give back to their local environment. And suppliers are actively working on charting production methods with lower carbon emissions.
6. Go net zero now with Net Zero Cloud
Getting started with sustainability
Breitling has achieved great things in its first year with Net Zero Cloud, but being an early adopter was no mean feat. It turned to trusted partners, Capgemini and Salesforce, for advice. Capgemini is helping the company build upon its carbon management activities to develop supply chain mapping of its key biodiversity and water impacts.
“Taking a greenfield approach can feel overwhelming. In order to unpack this, engaging our stakeholders at the outset in a materiality assessment was key, because we were able to define together where we wanted to focus our efforts. We clearly saw the demand from stakeholders to ensure a full supply chain approach to subjects such as environmental impacts along the value chain,” Figueroa reflected.
“We spoke to Salesforce about our vision, and I remember coming out of that meeting with a huge smile on my face,” recalled Boissonneault. “We’d dreamed of our ideal platform, and when we saw Net Zero Cloud in action, we knew this was it.”
As Breitling continues working towards its sustainability goals, it plans to integrate more systems with Net Zero Cloud and uncover richer insights about the best way to work with suppliers to drive down emissions.
“Sustainability is challenging, but with Salesforce, I feel more engaged than ever and I’m excited to keep working together with all our stakeholders,” Boissonneault concluded.