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The Rise Of Ethical Jewellery Due To Global Warming

By mindmingles Nov 22, 2021
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The world has finally noticed the ongoing issues that the environment is facing due to global warming. Many fashion brands have decided to change the way they design and produce their products. The same goes for jewellery brands as well. However, this is slightly different for jewellery makers simply because of the materials they use. Mining is one of the largest contributing factors to pumping carbon dioxide emissions into the earth’s atmosphere. 

Not only do the mines produce a lot of CO2 but, the packaging that comes with jewellery isn’t eco-friendly either. Not to mention the fact of how much packaging you will receive for some earrings. Jewellery businesses are slowly changing their ways, founding more routes to be more ethical and sustainable. This article will discuss the issues that jewellery brands are facing and how they can deal with them. 

Why Is It So Difficult to Make Jewellery Eco-Friendly?

As stated earlier, mining is one of the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions. However, there is no way of making it eco-friendly because of the machines that are used. Including the number of mines that are open around the world. As long as the mainstream jewellery brands are in demand, the mines will continue to be function. 

The materials that are used for your jewellery has more often than not been mined from the ground. Additionally, there are many gemstones these days that are lab-created. Although this is one way to reduce CO2 emissions, it still isn’t enough. Nonetheless, it is a step forward for the jewellery industry. 

Slavery is still very common to this day, including the mines for jewellery materials. More often than not, the materials that are mined are from LDCs, less developed countries. This could potentially mean that the materials were mined by someone who was being paid minimum wage or nothing at all. Slavery is still a massive issue when it comes to both the jewellery industry and the fashion industry. Nonetheless, many governments around the globe acknowledge the issues and are acting upon them. 

What many jewellery sellers are trying to find out is where the materials are mined. They also try to find out where it has been sold before and whether it is ethical and sustainable. Additionally, this is extremely difficult to do as the materials could have been mined a long time ago. Nonetheless, blockchain technology is helping us store the facts about where the materials came from and where they are sold now. 

It will be difficult to completely stop mines from producing CO2. The only thing that can be done is to reduce the demand for these mines.

The conditions that the miners work in is something that can be improved. Paying them above minimum wage is something that all countries should be taking into consideration. Organisations around the world should prevent jewellery brands from purchasing products from those that refuse to pay their miners above minimum wage. Similar to the fairtrade foundation but for jewellery and fashion brands. 

The Concerns of Protecting The Environment and The Eco-Friendly Considerations

The whole mining process for Gold, silver and other materials has a huge impact on the environment. Many global warming activists protest against the functioning of the mines, due to the amount of carbon dioxide they produce. Thanks to the technology that we have today. 

Even pearls can damage the environment. Aquaculture has damaged natural pearl oyster beds due to over-harvesting. Not only this but, the organisms are washed off, meaning there is more organic waste. The reason for this being bad is because fish and other animals find it difficult to break down the nutrients of those organisms. This then leads to deoxygenation. Deoxygenation is a chemical reaction that removes oxygen atoms from molecules. 

What Rules are in Place For Making Jewellery Eco-Friendly?

In the past few years, initiatives have been launched to combat the ethical and sustainable issues the whole world is facing. Here are some that have had a massive impact on the industry. Regarding the ethical and sustainable production of jewellery. 

Fairtrade Gold & Fairmined Gold

It is believed that around 560 tonnes of Gold is mined from small-scale mining according to metal focus. Small-scale mining is when no machinery, or very little, is used to mine for gold. These small scale mines are common in countries around the world that are less developed than others. Meaning that they are poorly regulated. It is common for those miners to be working a vast number of hours and paid less than the minimum wage. There is a high chance that many might not be getting paid at all. 

There will be numerous violations of human rights at these small-scale mines. Nonetheless, fairtrade and Fairmined are two initiatives that have launched to combat these ethical issues. 

Fairmined gold is an assurance label that confirms it has been mined to the right standards. Including social development and environmental protection. So far, Fairmined gold has worked with over 377 businesses in 33 different countries since its launch back in 2014. Fairtrade also works with gold into making sure that it is mined ethically. 

Responsible Jewellery Council

This is a council that brings up the current issues of human and labour rights in the jewellery market. The RJC was founded in 2005 and is the world’s leading standard for both jewellery and watches. 

Kimberley Process Diamonds

Mining for diamonds is not only damaging to the environment but is highly unethical. The Kimberley Process aims to remove conflict diamonds from the supply chain. In countries in Africa and around the globe, it is common for militias to control these mines, using the money generated to fund weapons. 

The Kimberley Process began in 2000 and has grown massively since then. The Kimberley Process committee is responsible for filtering around 99.8% of the global production. It has had a massive impact on the market for diamonds and works with over 83 countries across the globe. Including those in the European Union.

What Is The Future of Ethical and Sustainable Jewellery

It is difficult to find eco-friendly jewellery at the moment. Many jewellery stores won’t know whether or not it is ethical. However, the jewellery industry has made a few changes to improve that. 

Recycled Jewellery

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency suspects that metal mining is the number one toxic polluter. Recycling as many materials as possible is something that the majority of the western world has got on board with. Jewellery can be deconstructed and used again or, it can be sold as vintage jewellery. Many businesses will either deconstruct jewellery or use the existing jewellery pieces and sell it on. Also, gold is one of those materials that does not lose its quality when it is recycled. 

Lab-Grown Gemstones 

Lab-created gemstones are one way of reducing CO2 emissions. Although they still produce plenty of CO2 into the earth’s atmosphere. Artificial gemstones are an improvement for the jewellery industry. 

To Conclude

There are many issues regarding global warming and how materials for jewellery are mined. Reducing slave labour is one of the most important. Although, the existing issues of global warming are taking a toll on the environment. This is something that needs to be acted upon soon.

 

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