How Rolex is saving the Earth, one step at a time

Rolex has earned a name in the world of horology for its performance and reliability; its brand cachet is matched by only a select few peers. But not many people may know that the brand is also an active eco warrior, doing its bit to preserve the natural world. Here’s how the brand is improving life on our planet.

Charting the impacts of climate change

Rolex has teamed up with the National Geographic Society on a series of expeditions to uncover new insights about the impacts of climate change on the systems vital to life on Earth: Mountains as the world’s water towers, rainforests as the planet’s lungs, and the ocean as its cooling system. The first expedition, to Mount Everest from April to June 2019, explored the effects of climate change on the glaciers of the Hindu Kush-Himalaya, which provide water to 1 billion people downstream. This information, coupled with additional data sets on water supply and demand in the region, will form the basis of a new index tracking the health of the Himalayan water system.

Protecting at-risk marine life

Sylvia Earle, a Rolex Testimonee since 1982, has explored the world’s oceans for nearly 50 years. Since 2010, through her Mission Blue initiative, she has inspired communities and governments to shield marine life at risk from human pressures through marine protected areas she calls “Hope Spots”. These are areas of the ocean designated as being vital to the preservation of a species or places where local communities rely on a healthy marine environment for survival. With the support of Rolex since 2014, the total number of Hope Spots has increased from 50 to 112. Palau, a group of islands in Micronesia, is a Hope Spot. “Eighty per cent… is now a safe haven for wildlife and 20 per cent is managed so that the local population can continue to draw on the ocean for their livelihood,” says Earle.

Helping individuals make a difference

The biennial Rolex Awards for Enterprise helps people working on projects aimed at improving lives or protecting the world’s natural and cultural heritage. To date, Rolex has helped preserve 17 ecosystems crucial to biodiversity and human communities, as well as protect endangered species such as the Amur tiger, the hornbill and the seahorse. The five Laureates for 2019 are Brazilian conservationist João Campos-Silva, French medical scientist Grégoire Courtine, Ugandan IT specialist Brian Gitta, Indian conservationist Krithi Karanth and Canadian entrepreneur and molecular biologist Miranda Wang—all will receive funding and other benefits from Rolex for their inspiring projects.