In 1859 Daniel Swarovski, a Bohemian inventor arrived in Wattens, Austria with his invention — a machine for cutting and polishing crystal. Little did he realise that the crystals would revolutionise the fashion world. But, with the film indust ry coming into its own, there was an emergence of celebrities and stars. And, they provided a great creative platform for crystal to be used as a fashion accessory.
A 113 years later, Daniel’s great, great grandson Robert Buchbauer, (the head of the Consumer Goods Business that includes the Swarovski range of jewellery, accessories and decorative objects) decided to pursue his ancestor’s vision and move it forward. He says: “Swarovski is committed to presenting the sparkling world of crystal to our consumers in a way that exceeds their expectations.”
He adds that the company’s image as a ‘Modern Lux’ brand is not elitist, and will offer a wider range to a larger number of people, all the while keeping the Swarovski heritage, craftsmanship and expertise intact.
Apart from the world of high fashion and glamour, Buchbauer explains Swarovski’s commitment to social corporate responsibility, which in its case takes the form of the “Water for Nature” Project. “We treasure water as a valuable source of energy (Swarovski still uses energy produced by its own hydroelectric power station),” he says.
In a bid to spread awareness about the value of natural resources, Swarovski has decided to launch awareness programmes worldwide. Buchbauer explains that this will involve training teachers, educating children and helping people manage water resources better and improve their quality of life besides conserving and protecting the natural habitat of endangered species. “The Living Yangtze” project in China, is the first of its global “Water for Nature” programmes that aims to protect the Yangtze River. Workshops, tuitions and practical exercises will be carried out in schools along the Yangtze River. More such initiatives are in the pipeline. The “Water for Nature” programme will be carried out in two other regions before 2010. In India too, Swarovski has held a one-week programme at the Keoladeo National Park.
Through the Swarovski Crystal Society (SCS), an association of crystal lovers and collectors with a membership of over 4,00,000, the company will donate two euros from each membership fee and each item sold in its crystal “Endangered Wildlife” collection (celebrating a species facing extinction — in this case the panda) towards such programmes.