Luxury marques give back: Part Four

The myriad ways luxury marques support the environment, the arts and the vulnerable in society. Report by Ming Liu. Research by Sibéal Pounder

Bottega Veneta’s leather-making atelier and artisan school in Montebello Vicentino
Bottega Veneta’s leather-making atelier and artisan school in Montebello Vicentino

Bottega Veneta

Mandarin Oriental staff and their families warm up for a 10K run/walk to raise funds for the local Mercy Centre
Mandarin Oriental staff and their families warm up for a 10K run/walk to raise funds for the local Mercy Centre

Bottega Veneta’s history and identity are closely linked to the Veneto region in northeast Italy, and the area is at the heart of its social initiatives. In 2011, the brand helped launch the Women’s Mountain Cooperatives to benefit the large number of unemployed women in the Alto Astico and Posina mountain community. Two artisan leather-making workshops have since been built, each employing about 30 people. It also created a school in 2006, now located in its atelier in the town of Montebello Vicentino, to train a new generation of artisans. In 2012, the brand financed a three-month course in bag design and product development, which was attended by students from IUAV University in Venice and three students affected by the Japanese tsunami. A new edition of the course kicks off in January.

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Mandarin Oriental International

Hilton Worldwide Responds Fund helps with the construction of new homes in Batam, Indonesia
Hilton Worldwide Responds Fund helps with the construction of new homes in Batam, Indonesia

Since the 2000 launch of Mandarin Oriental’s advertising campaign featuring famous “fans” of the hotel, the group has raised $480,000 for causes close to its 28 fans’ hearts. Los Angeles’ St Vincent Meals on Wheels has benefited as Helen Mirren’s preferred charity, while Unicef has been a recipient thanks to Liam Neeson and Lucy Liu. Each hotel also supports the surrounding community in its own way. In Miami, for example, the hotel joined up with the Overtown Youth Center and hosted a softball tournament to raise $10,000 for a new computer lab, while in Manila $5,000 was raised after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. In Bangkok, more than 700 employees and their families participated in a 10k run/walk for the local Mercy Centre, raising Bt1.6m (about £31,000).

BNP Paribas Foundation supports a study on the impact of permafrost thaw on the climate, conducted on Bylot Island, Canada
BNP Paribas Foundation supports a study on the impact of permafrost thaw on the climate, conducted on Bylot Island, Canada

Hilton Worldwide

Felipe Massa donating his 2013 race suit at the Never Give Up On The Future charity auction, an event supported by Richard Mille to raise funds for victims of the Japanese tsunami and Fukushima disaster
Felipe Massa donating his 2013 race suit at the Never Give Up On The Future charity auction, an event supported by Richard Mille to raise funds for victims of the Japanese tsunami and Fukushima disaster | Image: Getty Images

Supporting disaster relief and the fight against human trafficking are top of the agenda for Hilton. Since its creation earlier this year, the Hilton Worldwide Responds Fund has provided over $300,000 to victims of Hurricane Odile in Mexico and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. An extra $684,000 was raised for the latter from guests, partly through a matching scheme. The brand has also helped to build homes for Indonesian villagers and partnered with the Global Fund for Children to create the Hilton Worldwide Anti-Trafficking Fund, with $300,000 for five projects, including shelters in Turkey and mentoring in the UK.

Beneficiaries of Women for Women International, Nigeria, an initiative supported by De Beers
Beneficiaries of Women for Women International, Nigeria, an initiative supported by De Beers | Image: Women for Women International Nigeria

BNP Paribas

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Over the past 30 years, the finance firm’s BNP Paribas Foundation has supported more than 300 cultural projects, some 40 scientific-research programmes and around 1,000 social and educational initiatives in France and beyond. Recent grants have supported workshops for young people from challenging backgrounds to promote education through the arts, such as film making in Spain and music in Italy and Portugal, while a €560,000 grant was announced this year for a study on the impact of permafrost thaw on the climate (conducted on Bylot Island, Canada). Within the bank itself, its MicroFinance Sans Frontières project has attracted more than 400 volunteers from across the business, who have conducted more than 150 missions in over 30 countries, such as setting up an IT system for a local credit union in Mali. In the UK, the bank has partnered with the NSPCC over the past two years, raising more than £250,000 through initiatives such as Christmas raffles and bonus contributions to fight child abuse.

Richard Mille

In 2013, Richard Mille teamed up with Olympian Yohan Blake to raise funds for victims of the Japanese tsunami and Fukushima disaster, donating watches worth over £160,000 to the Never Give Up on the Future event. Additionally, Blake’s prototype watch worn at the last Olympics raised €350,000 for muscular dystrophy at the 2013 Only Watch Auction, while brand ambassador Rafael Nadal’s RM 027 made €510,000 there in 2011. Also in 2011, the marque donated an RM 033 to the British Polo Day Charity Cup. It fetched SFr65,000 (about £42,250) at auction, with part going to Sentebale, co-founded by Prince Harry to help children affected by poverty and HIV/Aids.

De Beers

De Beers’ Moments in Light campaign got off to a sparkling start this summer in London with a gala that raised £400,000 for Women for Women International, a charity that helps female survivors in war-torn countries. The ongoing project has seen De Beers team up with photographer Mary McCartney to create short films featuring five inspirational women – including fashion designer Alice Temperley and choreographer Aszure Barton. The charity has helped over 400,000 women from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and Nigeria since 1993, and with De Beers’ support, a further 150 will be helped to rebuild their lives.

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