Sustainability in the Jewelry Business

Sustainability in the Jewelry Business

Sustainability in the Jewelry Business

Sustainability and responsibility towards the environment are the new driving forces in the jewelry industry. For many years, the jewelry industry carried a bad reputation for routinely violating environmental and ethical mandates. Recent years have seen more and more companies and brands adopt more environment-friendly and ethical practices. Consumer demands have also changed over the years. Now, people are much more aware of what goes behind the product they are buying. It becomes all the more important in the context of jewelry since they are highly emotional possessions. Driven by multiple forces, the jewelry industry is going through a sea change. More and more companies are now aware of their environmental and ethical practices.

Responsible Jewelry Council

No other organization or body has been as successful as RJC in implementing strict standards for jewelry manufacturing. The RJC Code of Practice is revised periodically to incorporate new measures. RJC certified businesses have to adhere to this strict code which protects human rights and the environment. The goal of this international, not-for-profit organization is to win back consumers' trust in the jewelry sector. Since 2005, they have made sure that the jewelry industry recovers from the bad name of its past. Scandals involving child labor, worker exploitation, and other issues have historically shaken the public's confidence in the jewelry sector. RJC has come a long way since 2005, and today the industry is no longer known for its dark past.

What is sustainable jewelry?

In a nutshell, using compassionate and responsible sourcing methods paired with the application of environment-friendly materials give rise to sustainable jewelry. Ethics are a big part of sustainable jewelry. If the manufacturing unit does not give its workers their due respect, they are not following sustainable practices.

Focus on environmental practices is a big part of sustainable jewelry industries. They ensure that their manufacturing processes leave the smallest carbon footprint possible. It is also inextricably linked to indigenous populations and their lifestyles. Gold and diamond mining has a long history of uprooting indigenous people from their rightful lands. Newer practices are focusing on a synthesis between the locals and the manufacturers instead. The companies are focusing on working with each other instead of working against each other.

A movement against fast fashion

Jewelry is among the items that people buy for cheap and throw away at a whim. Unlike expensive metal jewelry, the capitalistic fast-fashion culture has given rise to a trend of producing cheap jewelry in bulk. These are meant for a season or two. As a result, there is now a huge problem of waste disposal. Along with the trend of fast fashion, junk jewelry contributes to the waste problem immensely.

Sustainable jewelry manufacturers are resisting this focus on cheap, disposable jewelry. By producing quality items at a higher price, they are spreading a message against overconsumption.

Challenges to sustainable practices

The biggest challenge to the sustainable jewelry industry is that of exploitative companies. Some companies, to maximize profit, grossly violate environmental and ethical norms. Fortunately, more and more consumers are being drawn away from these companies.

Another problem is that of communication. Since jewelry manufacture takes place over multiple levels at multiple locations, effective communication becomes very difficult. It can lead to confusion and disparity between rules and standards. However, modern technology has greatly solved this issue and will do so even more in the future.


Sustainability in the Jewelry Business



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