The concept of sustainability for brands and businesses continues become more widely recognized and grow in importance. We recently earned the status as a Certified B Corporation and sustainability is at the core of that designation. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to talk about some of the ways we work to create sustainable jewelry.
A good place to start is with the definition of “sustainability.” In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Within the charter for the UCLA Sustainability Committee, sustainability is defined as: “the integration of environmental health, social equity and economic vitality in order to create thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities for this generation and generations to come. The practice of sustainability recognizes how these issues are interconnected and requires a systems approach and an acknowledgement of complexity.”
It is with these definitions in mind that we wanted to share five ways we work to create sustainable jewelry.
We have programs in place to continually increase our usage of post consumer recycled gold in our 18K Gold styles. We ended 2019 with 30%+ of our production using gold from these sources and increased that usage to 50%+ by August of 2020. Our goal is to share news on increased usage levels by year end. We recently instituted new programs on post consumer silver usage throughout our sterling silver production and are aiming at 20% usage by the end of 2020.
We have been using vintage diamonds (sometimes as old as 100+ years) in many of our special edition styles for the past three years. We are continuing this program with new collections using vintage and recycled diamonds scheduled for launch over the coming months.
Our Product Life Cycle
In a world of fast fashion that creates massive inventories of unused products, we focus on the enduring value in our fine jewelry pieces. Our pieces are created with the highest levels of quality and craftsmanship. We design them for a lifetime, and hope that women will one day share our pieces with their daughters or loved ones. Our designs are timeless, but always modern, so we can create pieces that will always be treasured.
We know that customers who own our pieces, but may sometimes decide after a number of years they want something new, are able to sell those pieces on various sites like 1st Dibs or the Real Real by building value and quality into our pieces, this allows our designs to become part of a circular product cycle that helps to conserve precious resources.
We strictly control our inventories. We don’t produce pieces to match lofty sales targets, but rather only manufacture what we realistically think we can sell, optimizing the usage of materials and energy. In the event we find ourselves with unsold pieces, which is rare, we will melt the metals in those pieces and allow them to reenter the precious metal supply chain.
We care about the communities in which we operate and where we manufacture. We want to work with partners who we hope will improve the lives of their teams and their communities. We choose our supply partners carefully, and share our values with them.
Many of our factories have certifications from global organizations that create clear sets of standards and best practices for jewelry manufacturing and the workplace. In 2020 approximately 70% of all MRK production will come from factories with these certifications.
Sustainable Packaging, Shipping, Electric Power
The shipping boxes we use are made of 70% recycled cardboard. We engineer the smallest shipping box possible for our products, as we work to maintain a luxury brand experience. The tissue paper we use is 100% SFI certified. Our marketing collateral as well as our paper jewelry boxes, are 100% FSC certified (SFI and FSC are sustainable forestry programs).
Our UPS Ground shipping is part of the UPS carbon offset program. For each ton of CO2 a package produces during transport, an equivalent amount of CO2 is saved by a verified emission reduction project elsewhere.
Our main office is powered by renewable energy, utilizing a combination of wind, small hydro and landfill gas. The energy supplied to us complies with the renewable energy definition in the Connecticut statutes. We minimize energy usage in our workplace through LED lighting, automatic timers and motion detectors on lighting to allow for usage only when needed and programmable thermostats to control temperatures to reflect actual office occupancy.
More to Explore