Customers are showing an increasing preference for companies with sustainable practices, especially in jewellery, but implementing these practices can be easier said than done, particularly for new businesses.

It might mean an initial investment, but it’s one that can pay dividends down the line, writes Shannon Mugford, content and SEO executive, Joshua James Jewellery.

In response to consumer demand, sustainability has quickly become a prioritised ethical principle for many industries.

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For instance, the hospitality industry has recently switched from plastic straws to paper. Paper decomposes quicker and has wider recycling potential, therefore posing less of a threat to our environment.

As shown in the hospitality industry, becoming sustainable doesn’t mean sacrificing our needs to help those in the future.

It’s merely finding ways to meet both so that every generation can live comfortably and safely. These needs come under three key categories: natural, economic and social resources.

Whether this is an industry practise that businesses need to uphold or not, these changes are highly sought-after by customers, clients and partners who respect and implement these values too.

Therefore, you will see an inevitable rise in sales. What’s more, not only can becoming sustainably driven benefit the planet and drive sales, but it also causes positive effects on a business’ morale.

This also applies to the jewellery market.

The first step to achieving sustainability in your jewellery business would be to source suppliers ethically. Sustainable sourcing is about reducing, minimising and optimising materials in all areas of the company.

While this may initially impact business costs, the return on investment and consumer trust improvement makes it worthwhile. This would then allow for transparency in your supply chain.

By educating your customers about who your suppliers are you give evidence of your sustainable efforts, which will set you apart from your competitors and benefit your reputation long-term.

Another method would be to partner with charities that can support you in becoming environmentally conscious.

Content and SEO executive, Shannon Mugford

Several charity organisations can help combat some of the environmental impacts that we cannot avoid as businesses.

For example, at Joshua James, we have partnered with Trees For The Future.

By working with this fantastic charity we dedicate a portion of every purchase to tackle the climate crisis.

Not only this, but Trees For The Future works with African families, developing and educating them in the ways of sustainable farming, allowing them to earn a sustainable income.

It translates to one tree planted per order placed, which allowed us to plant 70,000 trees in 2020 alone.

Overall, Trees for the Future has helped us to offset our carbon emissions in a way that we were unable to do ourselves.

Brands need to remember that becoming more sustainable isn’t a temporary act and must be present in everything you do.

By sourcing ethical luxury jewellery brands such as ChloBo and Nordgreen, conducting our paperless policy, working alongside a charity and simply reducing the amount of packaging used, we always strive to accomplish our sustainable targets at Joshua James.

Jewellers will need to start making changes now if they want to reap the benefits of becoming sustainable.

Brands can further capitalise on their ethical practices by including this critical factor in their marketing campaigns.

As shopping has and will continue to be virtual, this will also give businesses further budget and freedom to experiment with their ethical practices before resuming in-house.

Joshua James Jewellery is an independent jewellery store in Hessle, East Yorkshire, which opened in 2009 under the name of founder Shaun Bell’s son.