Sustainable jewelry based on ethically sourced materials has become a standard worldwide. For those of us who live on this earth, in order to create a more comfortable society and a more environmentally friendly future, in New York, the United States, it has become so pervasive that there is no other choice but to be ethical and sustainable.
I would like to think about the global action against ethical jewelry and how the pursuit of it is important for those of us living in the modern world.
■“Ethical jewelry” is a common concern between the world and the jewelry industry
"Ethical jewelry" refers to jewelry that is made with consideration for people and the environment. It can also be seen as supply chain transparency.
Until now, jewelry manufacturing has been based on serious problems such as environmental destruction and pollution. For example, when mining gold, dynamite is set in the mine and it explodes. In addition, mercury and cyanide compounds used in gold extraction and smelting contaminate groundwater, threatening not only the environment but also the health of the workers who handle them.
Since around 2000, the global jewelry industry has stopped putting nature and human life at risk, and has begun manufacturing jewelry that follows an ethical framework. Large, advanced companies, with De Beers, the world's largest company, at the top, each began to provide guidelines for how to procure diamonds and gold. These new initiatives are a major trend in the times, as consumers are also seeking sustainability in a broader sense, including corporate growth potential.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth by the United Nations aim to improve society and the environment by solving various problems such as human rights, poverty, hunger, pollution, and natural resources. , and a world with economic harmony.
The jewelry industry wants people involved in mining metals and gemstones to work under appropriate working conditions, wants to obtain materials without polluting nature, and wants to deliver jewelry that has gone through ethical processes to consumers. The hope of the SDGs is "a beautiful future where people and nature coexist." By receiving the blessings of nature and feeling connected to the earth, people will surely feel that they are being kept alive by nature. Diversity protects the earth's richness and circulates it. As part of this, humans continue to benefit from nature's blessings. The Earth is repeatedly revived, and the living things that are revived intertwine to maintain harmony. In other words, seeking sustainable jewelry allows us to recognize the diversity that exists in this world, and helps all beings to enjoy happiness.
■Global initiatives for sustainable jewelry
Major jewelry brands are driving the spread of sustainable jewelry. I would like to introduce specific examples of activities that we carry out without threatening the natural environment or making anyone unhappy.
Tiffany is a major American jewelry brand. The company has been proactive in its efforts to become sustainable, and in 1995, it famously petitioned the U.S. Department of the Interior to oppose the construction of a gold mine in order to protect the nature of Yellowstone National Park.
Since 2000, we have been working to promote sustainability in a wide range of areas beyond the jewelry business through the Tiffany Foundation. Diamonds are mined from mines owned by the company and undergo a polishing process.
Boucheron, a long-established French high jewelry brand, is a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), which promotes sustainable activities in the jewelry industry.
In addition to using diamonds certified by the Kimberley Process in accordance with RJC rules, we have been actively promoting Fairmined certified gold (gold that has been handled through ethical processes from mining to trading) since 2014. We are hiring.
Mikimoto, a world-renowned Japanese high jewelry brand, has been dedicated to protecting pearls ever since it succeeded in culturing pearls in 1893. Currently, its activities go beyond supplying high-quality pearls and are also connected to the protection of marine resources and the prevention of marine pollution.
In 2009, we promoted the goal of becoming a ``zero-emission pearl farm,'' and we are promoting the reuse of waste such as shellfish meat and shells produced during pearl farming.
■What sustainable jewelry brings to us living in modern times
Since ancient times, jewelry has been a symbol of wealth and a familiar presence in people's lives for its beauty. It is different from the necessities of food to survive and things to wear to keep warm, it is a symbol of the Shinra phenomenon, and has become integrated into culture as an expression of people's feelings.
The values of shifting the things we touch, eat, and wear in our lives in a more sustainable direction are spreading worldwide, and jewelry is one of them, focusing on the background of production. The number of people doing this has increased. In New York, most of the brands you see, including the private labels, demonstrate clean sourcing. For those of us who live on this earth while making use of the earth's resources, it is perhaps in modern times that our relationship with jewelry has evolved into a deeper one.
In an age where society is becoming increasingly digital, try wearing carefully crafted jewelry that takes advantage of the beauty of natural materials. You are sure to feel the warmth of Mother Earth, as if this earth will continue into the future.
The personal act of choosing sustainable jewelry not only gently brings out the outer and inner beauty of the wearer, but also brings awareness to the jewelry industry and lifts its development towards achieving global goals.
In today's world, where values have diversified to such an extent that they are said to be a turning point, and the earth is in a phase of change, we must continue to think about the meaning of each of our choices. Moving away from myopic viewpoints and never ceasing to ask fundamental questions about how we should face the future is one guideline for us in this day and age of ``taking a global perspective and acting locally.'' maybe.
■About R ethical's "Act locally with a global perspective"
Natural stones and gold, which have been nurtured by the earth over many years, have a rustic and rugged appearance. When the material is made into jewelry through repeated hand movements, polishing, and tailoring, it becomes smooth and has a gorgeous shine.
We have redefined that process as a "piece of hope." Jewelry, which stands by us like a light in a complex future, is a hope for those of us who live in a complex modern world.
If we pursue sustainability in response to the world's problems such as the global environment, economy, food, and energy, we will naturally have to change the way we live. When we look around the world, we see an incredible amount of social and environmental problems. Even though the people living there are hurting, they still want to live in peace. Sustainable thinking is a universal value that transcends nationality, gender, and time, and is at its core. I believe that the desire to aim for a better future is all connected.
R ethical is proud to be the first company in Japan to receive the Fairmined certification label in 2013, and to share Japanese culture with the world. I would like to never stop asking small questions and pursue the true beauty of not polluting the global environment or hurting people, and I would like to move forward by turning my actions into energy.
R ethical Founder, Mari Hoshi