Every Spring we talk about Earth Day, but what does that really mean for us in the jewelry business?
The increasing consumer demand for lab grown diamonds has brought ethics and sustainability to the forefront of many conversations between jewelry retailers and their customers. But this idea of manufacturing jewelry responsibly doesn’t end with the diamond sector.
In fact, you might argue that fashion jewelry is even more invested in ethics and sustainability since fashion trends are driven by the younger generations.
A 2021 survey by Forrester showed that roughly 65% of consumers want to support brands that are sustainable. That number is certain to go up in the future, and it’s highest among 18 – 44 year-olds, the target market that every jewelry retailer wants as their customers.
As a jewelry manufacturer committed to sustainable sourcing and production, I’m here to tell you that while some may talk about “green” processes, there’s something new to watch out for in the manufacturing world – Greenwashing.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing refers to the practice of trying to falsely imply or outright state the level of environmental responsibility your company is using when it comes to manufacturing. In other words, saying your product is “greener” than it really is.
It’s a real problem in the jewelry manufacturing world, largely because it’s so difficult to prove when you’re actually doing it correctly. The raw materials to manufacture jewelry are often found at the ends of the Earth, gathered by people who can’t afford to ask for oversight.
All that is changing.
What to Look For
The first step in the process is to find out which companies your suppliers are already working with. What a great reference to know that a supplier is already working with a company that is aware of greenwashing and has a great consumer reputation.
If you’re not sure or don’t like the answers you receive and want to offer responsible choices to your customers in the fashion jewelry space, look for companies who can validate their marketing claims through third party independent verification or tools.
The standards set forth by these organizations are not easy to comply with, and their audits are even more difficult to pass successfully, which is why so many companies greenwash their efforts.
A few good signs of a jewelry manufacturer committed to green practices include:
- Responsible Jewelry Council Membership & Audits
- LBMA (Independent Precious Metals Authority) Membership & Audits
- Higg Index Tools Registration & Adoption
The message here is not to fall for the marketing fluff and buzzwords. Ask your manufacturers to prove what they are doing to promote sustainable impact in the jewelry industry.
Doing this will help you give your younger customers what they want, which is jewelry they love looking at and feel proud of while wearing.