It has never been more important to let customers know that your product is ethically and sustainably sourced. And that statement is likely to remain true for decades to come as consumers become more and more demanding of retailers – both in terms of their practices and their products.
Even further up the supply chain, jewellery suppliers like Stuller are feeling the effects. Vice president of merchandising, Alix Gonsoulin, says: “Yes, we have seen an increase in demand related to ethical and sustainable manufacturing and sourcing within the fine jewellery industry. I believe this is driven by the demand from the end consumer.”
The more companies get on board and up the ante, the more consumers demand.
SCS Global executive vice president, Stanley Mathuram, meanwhile, adds: “Jewellers can no longer afford to be seen as not using ethical business practices. This applies for today and will hold true in the future.”
The jewellery industry comes under particular scrutiny, perhaps because of historical blunders like the blood diamond furor.
In light of this universal truth, what are jewellery businesses doing to get ahead of the competition in this area?
Humble as ever, River Mounts’ Yvette Kempson says: “River Mounts is by no means the market leader in sustainable jewellery, but we are inspired and motivated by the ones that are.”
In that spirit, the company does all it can to innovate when it comes to ethical practices. “Our sustainable shipping tins have proven incredibly popular with customers,” says Kempson.
On top of this River Mounts is striving to become a paperless company, and encourages its customers to behave the same way with the option of electronic invoices.
Next, Gecko’s Ruth Johnson says the company has made many changes this year. “These include carbon balancing all of our catalogues,” she says, “ensuring they are fully recyclable, including their laminated covers.
“We have also introduced a recycled leather collection into Fred Bennett and are about to launch a recycled silver collection in Fiorelli, all supplied with full recycled packaging.”
The company is even in the process of researching sustainable gemstone options for its future collections.
Fope has been focusing on a different area of the debate this year. CEO Diego Nardin says: “We have invested a lot in workforce wellbeing, as the pandemic has called for flexibility and more attention on health both physical and mental.”
It has also, however, made its headquarters more eco-friendly with the addition of solar panels, as well as achieving carbon neutrality through investing in tree-planting.
Almost as important as being ethical is shouting about it so that your customers know.
One of the best ways of doing this is by becoming accredited by a third party. Green Rocks Created Diamonds UK sales manager, Maiko Eaton, reveals: “A few weeks ago, we were credited with the SCS 007 sustainably rated diamond certificate for our production in Nesher, Israel.
“It has been years of work to get to this point, but we always believed in this certification and that it was the right thing to do.
“SCS represents the best in our industry, and I hope that this will become the standard of what a business needs to do to show it is making the right steps.”
Summing up these two separate elements crucial to becoming a successful ethical business, Suraj Poddar, CEO of Uniglo Diamonds, adds his opinion: “Two things are important for companies to do.
“Consumers should be informed about how a brand conducts its business, but talking about ethically sourcing is not enough – we actually need to practice what we preach too.”