What has Richemont, a leading Swiss public company and among the world’s largest luxury goods groups, got to do with Peace Parks Foundation? They share a common chairman, for a start, Johann Rupert, whose father, Dr Anton Rupert set up both Peace Parks Foundation in southern Africa and also the Richemont group in Switzerland. Richemont is also a major donor to Peace Parks Foundation. Through their membership of Peace Parks’ Club 21 – comprising companies that have donated $1 million or more to Peace Parks – they help achieve the dream of reconnecting Africa’s wild spaces to create a future for humankind in harmony with nature.
Richemont is a very discerning group including jewellers and watchmakers like Cartier, online distributors like Net-A-Porter, fashion houses and pen-makers all dedicated to making beautiful, luxury items. In partnership with Peace Parks, Cartier has been supporting leopard conservation in southern Africa for six years now. Kilgarriff maintains that every business needs to work out how to co-exist with nature, how to be more sustainable.
Richemont strives to become a responsible corporate partner globally as well work towards a carbon-neutral business model. They aim to offset their carbon footprint through purchasing carbon credits from BCP’s Lower Zambezi REDD+ project (Africa’s leading forest carbon offset developer). In this way, rural communities receive performance-based incentives when participating in forest conservation and the funds are used for building local infrastructure and social development projects.
As Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Richemont, Kilgarriff is involved with sustainability matters, and here lies another link with Peace Parks. It is to do with their shared beliefs. Craftsmanship, precious materials, history: these are worth protecting, says Kilgarriff. Peace Parks Foundation is involved in protecting what is of value in nature and therefore our shared history with the animal kingdom in southern Africa. Peace Parks Foundation’s conservation work benefits large, complex global systems. In turn these systems have an impact on the work that Richemont does. Everything is connected, says Kilgarriff, with business systems linked with natural systems.
The key then, he posits, is to build a regenerative approach, so that nature and humanity can co-exist by working in harmony together.