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Case in point 13—Swarovski’s Water Schools

Corporate social responsibility and a green agenda support sustainable business practices

About Swarovski

Austria-based Swarovski offers beautifully-crafted crystal gift items, fashion accessories, jewellery, watches, home décor, etc. Swarovski commenced operations in India in 2002 and plans to maintain 30 dealer-authorised stores in India by 2012. Swarovski vies India as a high-potential market for further earnings, revenue and growth.

The green agenda at Swarovski is blue!—Swarovski’s Water School for a Living Yangtze

The increasing world population, rising urbanisation levels, unsanitary conditions, climate change and enhanced water use are placing a strain on the world’s water resources. To that end, Swarovski maintains a strong commitment to water management through its programme involving Water Schools. Water is an essential resource for the company and is the main theme of its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. Swarovski’s water schools programme involves working with school children, who are viewed as the future custodians of the world’s water resources. While there is enough water on earth for all people, it must be wisely managed and justly distributed. Children need to know about the issues and problems of the world’s limited water resources and its sustainable management. This belief prompted the development of the Water Schools programme. Swarovski is creating Water Schools for three rivers, namely the Amazon (South America), Yangtze (China) and the Ganges (India).

The goal of a Water School is to create awareness and understanding of:

  • The fundamental importance of the ‘resource water’ for all life on earth,

  • The ecological, economic, social and cultural problems affecting it locally and globally,

  • The principles of wise and sustainable water management, and

  • The responsible actions by individuals, communities and governments

The methods of the Water School are:

  • To produce imaginative and motivating teaching materials

  • To train and motivate the teachers

  • To reach the children through their minds, hearts and hands

  • To make the children ambassadors of change to influence their families and communities

to care for the limited water resources

Since Swarovski is in the midst of developing its Water School for the Ganges, we choose to discuss its Water School for China’s Yangtze River, called the Water School for a Living Yangtze (2008 – 2011). (It is envisioned that India’s Water Schools will be similar to the schools in China.) China has only seven percent of the global water resources for 20 percent of the world’s population. Four hundred cities are facing severe water shortages and 300 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. China also suffers from severe pollution (40 percent of water in major rivers is only fit for industrial and agricultural use) and the worst soil erosion problems in the world (37 percent of China is impacted by agricultural and industrial development, overexploitation for irrigation, large hydro-power developments and droughts and global temperature increase).

Strategic Issues for Retail CEOs* : Perspectives on Operating in India’s Retail Sector

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