SHINY AND SUSTAINABLE
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To enhance an already sustainable business model, we have implemented additional, effective measures, which not only lessen our impact on the planet, but also improve the livelihoods and environments of those made vulnerable by the past and present jewellery industry.
jewellery and sustainability
It’s no secret that the fashion and jewellery industries can be massively damaging to the environment, from harvesting the raw materials to transporting the finished pieces. Mining for metals can be environmentally very destructive, causing excess erosion, sinkholes, a loss of biodiversity, deforestation, and the contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals emitted from mining processes. In fact, Earthworks has estimated that 20 tons of toxic mine waste is produced per 0.333 oz of gold (approximately 4-5 gold rings)! On top of this, the non-precious metals used in modern jewellery such as brass and sterling silver are imported from all over the world, significantly increasing the carbon footprint of new pieces.
Some of the materials used in fashion jewellery come from less developed countries, which can make supply chain traceability a lot more challenging.
Transparency continues to be a systematic problem within the industry, with many companies unable to supply key information about where their products have been produced. Trying to hold brands and manufacturers accountable for using unsustainable materials or operating in an unethical work environment, is incredibly difficult.
Pollution is unfair. Especially, toxic contamination from mining. It can massively affect people living developing countries and negatively impact the health and livelihoods of those who don’t contribute to the problem or have any control over its solution. Oxfam reports that the impacts of mining are not gender neutral; women living in mining areas are disproportionately affected by the change of environment and rarely receive the benefits that men do from employment or any compensation. Instead they face discrimination, poor working conditions and unequal pay for equal work.
Why buy vintage?
By buying a piece of vintage jewellery, you’re already doing your bit and reducing the demand for new resources. Simply by incorporating these timeless creations into your current wardrobe, you can increase their lifespan and prolong their journey to disposal. Buying vintage makes you a conservator rather than a consumer. You’re also supporting a small business, rather than a large resource-consuming corporation, which ticks another important sustainability box.
Thinking Outside The Box
Packaging is a huge contributor to saturated landfill sites and pollution. To help combat this, we are constantly trying to reduce the environmental footprint of our packaging. We continually research and implement new packaging, which is made from sustainable materials and can be disposed of responsibly. It must also be strong enough to protect your special purchase and of course, deliver the wow factor that we know our customers love.
A few examples of our more sustainable packaging are recyclable boxes, produced using a mix of recycled and wastepaper, fully biodegradable and plastic free parcel tape and biodegradable ‘document enclosed’ wallets. We will continue to assess our packaging, finding even more environmentally friendly alternatives to implement in the future.
Increasing the life cycle of your purchase is imperative to its sustainability and allows you to appreciate your treasured jewel for longer. As well as providing advice online, we also send out a care card with each item purchased, to ensure that your jewellery stays in beautiful condition.
For every purchase made online, we pay for DHL’s GOGREEN Carbon Neutral service. This delivery service includes an additional fee which goes towards verified and high-quality climate protection projects, which help to capture carbon and neutralise your shipment. Current climate protection projects include reforestation in Uganda, ceramic water purification in Cambodia and wind power construction in Nicaragua and China – all verified to benefit the local population and environment.
In order to contribute to a more circular economy within the jewellery industry, which is imperative to sustainable development, we will be making an annual donation to non-profit organisations which work to create better working conditions and reduce the environmental impacts of the modern jewellery industry.
This year Jennifer will be donating $200 to Pure Earth.
Pure Earth is dedicated to solving pollution problems in low and middle-income countries, where human and environmental health is at risk from toxic contamination, mainly mercury from gold mining. This often contaminates water sources including drinking water and vulnerable marine and freshwater habitats, where it transforms into methylmercury – one of the most toxic organic compounds and a powerful neurotoxin. According to UNIDO, as much as 95% of all mercury used in artisan and small-scale gold mining is released into the environment! Jennifer’s donation will help repair historic damage caused by the jewellery industry of times gone by, as well as helping to limit the impacts of present practices.
• $1,000 educates two communities polluted by dangerous mercury from goldmining
• $500 cleans a lead-contaminated yard
• $200 helps clean a home
• $100 monitors the blood lead levels of an entire family
We welcome any further donations to this programme and encourage you to find out more about how your purchases can have a knock-on effect on the livelihoods of others and their environments.
Richard Fuller, Pure Earth President.
Project Earth at Selfridges
Jennifer Gibson Jewellery has recently joined Selfridges’ Project Earth, a new chapter in the company’s history, which aims to change the way we shop. This ground-breaking campaign puts sustainability at the heart of everything the company does, including its Closing the Loop and ReSellfridges initiatives. The Manchester Exchange Square, Birmingham and London stores will be stocking exclusive vintage pieces from Jennifer Gibson Jewellery, allowing more people to shop consciously.