Below is the news we just received from TAG Heuer:

Today begins the construction of solar roofing for our factories in La Chauds-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Upon completion, the project will represent the largest solar roof on any private company in Western Switzerland.

In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the Swiss Avant-Garde brand signed an agreement with Swiss energy distributor VITEOS and Planair, a Swiss consulting firm specialized in environmental issues, to equip the rooftops of its four buildings with solar panels.

The decision to undertake the feasibility study came at direction of President and CEO Jean-Christophe Babin following Leonardo DiCaprio’s visit of the TAG Heuer factory in March this year.

“Leonardo visited the factory with an eye on everything that could be done to reduce our energy consumption” said Babin. “His factory visit in La Chaux-de-Fonds turned into an inspiring and creative environmental audit. Leonardo combined his environmental mind with a highly respectful approach toward our staff, making his visit an impactful highlight of TAG Heuer’s 150th anniversary celebration.”

In reaching this decision, many aspects of the company’s sustainable development policy were discussed and several brilliant ideas were proposed. Planair supported TAG Heuer in conducting feasibility studies on the various options. An agreement on the photovoltaic roofs was reached at the end of September. The deal will commit TAG Heuer and VITEOS for a minimum of 15 years for the installation of over 500 photovoltaic panels dispatched on the roofs of TAG Heuer’s four buildings in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The annual production should reach 100’000 kWh. The construction will begin today and continue in December. The new solar fed electric system should start running over the winter.

Jean-Christophe Babin remarked: “The annual production we expect is comparable to 400’000 kilometers with a Tesla electric roadster. We just celebrated our 150th anniversary with the first world tour in a 100% electric car, the TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster. During an eventful Odyssey, we rode over 37’000 km. The math is simple: our electricity production will be equivalent to over 10 trips around the world with an electric car!”

The project, which is expected to cost 750’000 Swiss Francs, is co-financed by TAG Heuer and VITEOS. The photovoltaic panels will be supplied by a European company in order to limit the carbon footprint of shipping the equipment. The deal also includes TAG Heuer’s commitment to the local environmental treaties to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17% over the next ten years, positioning them as a contributor to Switzerland’s pursuit of Kyoto Protocol set objectives. With this project, TAG Heuer, mastering time for over 150 years, enters a new era of mastering energy.

This announcement coincides with the release of a first Leonardo DiCaprio co-designed mechanical watch, the Aquaracer 500M, which was redesigned by DiCaprio as part of an initiative to raise money in support of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Green Cross International, two of the most influential and effective environmental organizations in the world.

Since DiCaprio joined TAG Heuer’s impressive roster of Ambassadors in 2009, the company has been walking the green line more than ever.

“TAG Heuer is a company that gets it”, declared DiCaprio in a speech in Basel earlier this year. “Because TAG Heuer understands that they have a corporate mission, but also a global mission, a mission that is bigger than all of us. TAG Heuer is a company that has taken a stand for what it believes in… And I’m proud to be here today, celebrating a company that is standing up to give back to environmental non profit organizations alongside me.”