Table of Contents
- How to be a Sustainable and Ethical Jewelry Brand
- 1. Reuse and repurpose materials.
- 2. Rethink your packaging materials.
- 3. Subscribe to ethical sourcing practices.
- 4. Support community works and charities authentically.
- 5. Take care of your employees.
- How would you rate your sustainability efforts as a brand?
What exactly is an ethical jewelry brand?
Your jewelry consumers are paying attention, and one of their concerns is social responsibility. According to a survey conducted by Certus Insights for Markstein, a marketing communications agency, most polled consumers are interested in knowing your sustainability efforts; however, they are skeptical.
Sustainability in business concept
Sustainability in business falls under two categories. First, the effect that brands and businesses have on the environment, and second, the effect these businesses have on society. Given their impact on both pillars, we can say that it works in their favor when they assume responsibility. For instance, and proven long ago, businesses with high environmental and social ratings have recorded improved financial performance and public support.
Every business has different sustainability efforts because they target different stakeholders. In the jewelry industry, sustainability and ethics means operating your jewelry business with minimal impact on the environment and society. This focus area encompasses responsible sourcing practices, fair work, employee welfare, and conflict-free practices, among many others.
It sounds complicated, but you can actually change the industry for the better, even in little ways. So here are five (5) tips for becoming a sustainable and ethical jewelry brand.
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How to be a Sustainable and Ethical Jewelry Brand
1. Reuse and repurpose materials.
Reusing and repurposing materials is one excellent way of becoming an ethical jewelry brand. Be creative and always think out of the box as every broken gemstone and scrap metal can be repurposed and reused. This is critical as both metals and gems are finite resources. As such, instead of buying new materials, develop a habit of reclaiming and reusing them.
For example, you can melt down broken jewelry to reuse them to make new jewelry. Further, encourage your repeat customers to send their old and unused jewelry to you to refine or make a new product out of them. This will strengthen your relationship with your customers.
2. Rethink your packaging materials.
Just because packaging attracts customers doesn’t mean we can throw social responsibility out of the picture. Always consider what type of packaging your jewelry will be sent in.
Are you using recyclable materials? Are they reusable? What about the design?
Understandably, coming up with sustainable packaging in the jewelry industry might be too difficult to achieve. This difficulty comes from the fact that jewelry boxes are often made up of multiple different materials because they need fitments to hold rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, among many others. Sometimes, this factor makes sustainable packaging a tall order, but it’s not impossible, especially with technology nowadays.
Well-designed packaging can save costs and minimize environmental impact. Couple it with proper customer education on how to dispose of their packaging, and you’re already an ally.
When designing your packaging, ask yourself:
- What materials will I use?
- How much packaging materials will I use?
- Is it easy to recycle?
Don’t be that brand that uses a ridiculous amount of unnecessary shipping materials for a tiny product. Think of your packaging as a complete system intended to maximize positive social and environmental impact.
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3. Subscribe to ethical sourcing practices.
A sustainable and ethical jewelry brand practices ethical sourcing.
Young consumer demographics are becoming keen on buying ethically-sourced jewelry; hence, jewelers must embrace ethical sourcing to pull up their reputation.
Where do your gemstones come from?
Fairtrade means people from developing countries are paid fair prices for their goods and services. This fair price enables them to live a decent life and raise their children in a humane environment. When looking for suppliers, look for suppliers that promote, advocate for, and abide by fair trade practices.
4. Support community works and charities authentically.
Whether you decide to start your own community project or support an existing one, remember always to BE AUTHENTIC.
Since polled consumers are skeptical about the motivations behind businesses’ social responsibility efforts, it’s important to show them more than to tell them.
There are many ways to show authenticity.
- Sponsor events that promote and raise social awareness. You can also allow your team members to partake in the activity to demonstrate that your involvement goes beyond the surface.
- Make sure it makes sense. Find an initiative that aligns well with your brand. For example, if you sell and produce pearl jewelry, you can support foundations dedicated to saving and protecting seas since pearl relies on pristine environmental conditions and responsible pearl farming.
- Know the people behind the charity or community projects before getting involved. Understand their goal and their impact to ensure that it aligns with your goals.
- Support local organizations, if possible, and watch your community thrive.
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5. Take care of your employees.
To be a sustainable and ethical jewelry brand, you must first engage your employees. By taking care of them, you become a good example of how to be a champion of your brand’s sustainability efforts.
Aside from fair and equitable compensation together with intangible things like support, trust, enrichment, respect, and a sense of community, you can also support your employees in little low-cost ways like random snack breaks, sending them to workshops and seminars that support their growth, or a VIP parking spot for your employee of the month. The options are endless. Make it fun, productive, and empathic.
How would you rate your sustainability efforts as a brand?
Overall, it is essential to operate a brand that aligns with your employees’ and customers’ core values. Be genuine and focus only on sustainability efforts that deliver a true, positive impact.
What other tips do you have for becoming a sustainable and ethical jewelry brand? Let us know in the comment section below!