“With the Swiss Genius innovation award, Bulgari aims to challenge future generations”
While Bulgari launched its latest innovation Prize called Swiss Genius, in collaboration with the Swiss academic field, Eleonora Rizzuto, general manager for ethics and CSR at Bulgari explains the brands development plans in terms of sustainability.
By Cristina D’Agostino24 février 2022
Corporate social responsibility is at the heart of Bulgari’s development strategy and plays a key role in its business. With the launch of its Swiss Genius innovation prize at the beginning of March, Bulgari wishes to challenge future generations and managers of tomorrow. Masters’ students from five Swiss Universities (Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, UNIL-HEC Lausanne, Universität St-Gallen, Università Svizzera Italiana, Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW) will have the possibility to participate to the first Bulgari Swiss Genius jointly imagined with the Swiss Center for Luxury Research (founded by Felicitas Morhart) and the media Luxury Tribune. Students will design an innovative project in the field of corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSR) touching upon sectors of sourcing, sustainability, product, communications, human resources, or philanthropy. To talk about it, Eleonora Rizzuto, general manager for ethics and CSR at Bulgari explains Bulgari’s strategies in terms of CSR.
The prize about innovation touches upon corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSR) and welcomes students in master’s degrees to think about innovative solutions which could be applied to the Bulgari brand. Why this choice?
I am very enthusiastic about this project, which perfectly embodies the strategic vision of the brand. I joined the group ten years ago, in charge of sustainability. Since then, clear objectives were set, including many which had already been implemented. It is interesting to notice that since the pandemic, new requirements have emerged, mainly those of preparing future generations to train technically, qualitatively for these challenges, while encompassing what we call soft skills. Today, all the Bulgari departments are developing general attention to sustainability, with a remarkable acceleration over the past two years. Significant collaborations have been implemented with academic skill centers, and the Bulgari Swiss Genius in collaboration with the Swiss Center for Luxury Research is an interesting example of common thought processes. It is an opportunity for Bulgari to show students the length of our sustainable approach, as it is today one of the first selection criteria for young talents looking to start their career.
What are the priorities in terms of CSR?
The field has been constantly evolving and the level of requirement is ever more demanding. Younger generations are very attentive to challenges related to greenwashing and they do not hesitate to verify information on social media. Fact checking is a priority today for this generation. They don’t simply read information on brand websites anymore. They proceed with true research and fact-checking. We must be very careful in respecting these requirements. I often have the opportunity of speaking at courses dedicated to CSR, and their questions are very precise, without ambiguity when it comes to important themes such as labor or material traceability. In consequence, the crucial point is about never betraying their trust.
What have been the main innovations driven by Bulgari over the past years?
Our actions and contributions related to scientific research regarding Covid-19, as well as our tangible help in producing hand sanitizer at the start of the pandemic have not been missed by external observants. In just twenty days, our help was set in motion. Our speed in reacting at the heart of our supply chain was recognized. We have also continued our plastic free policy on all our sites. And this has been a true battle amid the sanitary crisis, while drastic hygiene measures were massively reintegrating their way in our daily lives. Our packaging is about to become fully plastic free. Our second major challenge is to finalize our standards dedicated to precious stones. It is a complex sector. While international standards exist today regarding gold and diamonds, there are none for rubies yet, nor emeralds and sapphires among others. Bulgari participates actively in accelerating these definitions, at the heart of the Responsible Jewelry Council.
Ces innovations intègrent-elles les directives émises par le groupe LVMH?
Yes, of course, Bulgari positions itself in the scope of the LVMH group’s requirements. I collaborate actively with the “responsible acquisitions” department. When we elaborate ethical definitions for gold, diamonds, and precious stones, they are part of an information exchange process with the group. The 360 program which takes on the requirements of the European New Green Deal is also part of our policy at Bulgari. It is part of the green agenda on which LVMH, and its brands have been relying for a few years.
What are the measures left to implement?
The total and 360 implementation of traceability, even if we already have the technology as well as the roadmap which help us identify the materials’ origins. The objective is to trace the material from mine to product. Blockchain technology among others and innovation help us get there.
To you, is there true Swiss added value in terms of CSR savoir-faire?
I personally started my career in Switzerland, in the Watchmaking department, when I took on my role at the head of CSR at Bulgari. The proximity of production sites, the very high level of artisanal savoir-faire and the sustainable and green approach of supply chains were impactful to me. We just had to implement systematic processes which were missing. Sustainability is directly linked to excellence, it was already naturally embedded in Swiss watchmaking, as well as its capacity to resist crises, and pandemics such as the one we went through.
What are your ambitions for the Bulgari Swiss Genius and what do you expect of it?
My personal ambition is very high, I truly believe in this project. I wish to reach new talents and of course follow their development over the years.
For futher information : Swiss Genius 2022
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