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  • AT THE END OF THE WORLD

    Chilean Patagonia is the setting for an ecological romance between time and nature. Photography by Michael Filonow. Production by Lauri Eisenberg

    There are no boundaries: for icons, time lacks importance. A year is a second, and a second can be eternal. !e Royal Oak is a good example. Launched in 1972 by Audemars Piguet, the first luxury sports watch was ahead of its time. Legend says that it was designed in a single night; today,

    40 years later, being at the forefront is not a foreign concept to the Swiss watchmaker, a pioneer in corporate social responsibility. Aware of the inherent privilege of being headquartered in a region protected and preserved from pollution, surrounded by splendid forests in the Valley of Joux (located north of the Alps in the Jura Mountains), this firm decided to create the Audemars Piguet Foundation two decades ago. Its objective, as Natalia Rotman, Marketing Manager for Audemars Piguet/Latin America explains exclusively to us, “is to contribute to the conservation of forests all around the world, which is not new for us.”Reconstructing forests destroyed by fire, storms, and deforestation – or the erosion that results from the combination of these three factors – is the intervention that takes priority for this not-for-profit foundation, chaired by Jasmine Audemars, who also relies on the expertise of a scientist from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). !e foundation’s first undertaking, in 1992, coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak, was to re-plant a forest that had been ravaged by a fire atop the rocky promontory that overhangs Monaco: “!e Dog’s Head.” Today, we pay tribute to this classic in a very different setting: Chilean Patagonia.

    Far away from the crowds, the concre-te, and the stale city air, an eden awaits you in Chile. Patagonia Sur represents the values of authenticity and innovation of Audemars Piguet, which is why the watch brand became the founding member of Patagonia Sur’s Corporate Conservation Circle (C3). !e objective of this venture, which brings together diverse entities, is the preservation of ecologically valuable ecosystems, as well as research and sustainable development, with tangible commitments that will be carried out over the next ten years. As part of the work it undertakes in Chile, Audemars

    Piguet will plant a 14-acre forest with 7,575 native-species trees — enough to neutralize 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide —, will collaborate on the creation of a marine research station to study blue whales and on the conservation of Lago Palena, and will also help support programs to teach the region’s locals English and organic gardening techniques, and help local artisans improve the commercialization of their products. “!is natural setting is unique, and regardless of what each person may consider to be a luxury, it’s a privilege to be able to enjoy it. However, in a perfect world, I would hope that access to these ecosystems could be within everyone’s reach,” Rotman maintains.

    Geographically, a project like Patagonia Sur’s represents a “source of pride” for a brand like Audemars Piguet, “because it has a pioneering outlook.” Rotman grows emotional when she speaks about it: “For more than 20 years we have been involved in these types of projects;

    we have found in them a passion for conserving the world and the forests.” !is enthusiasm goes well beyond the merely corporate; it’s practically a mission, a commitment to the future. “Everyone thinks that luxury is something very personal and exclusive, and that people who purchase luxury goods are thinking of themselves,” affirms Rotman. “However, at Audemars Piguet we pride ourselves on the fact that we think of others. We’re not about only selling watches; instead we’d like to give back something to the community, to the world, and, in this case, to the conservation of forests.” !is vision of responsible consumption is also evident in the consumers themselves, who are educating themselves about the impact of their actions.

    “Today’s clients are more conscientious and selective in deciding with which brands they want to associate themselves,” assures Rotman. “What many of them are looking for is to spend their resources wisely and, at the same time, avoid negatively impacting future generations.”