What can jewellery do for the environment?
The fight against climate change has been intensified in recent years due to the ravages that several productive sectors, among them jewellery, are inflicting on the environment. A priori, jewellery would not be identified as one of the more polluting sectors of the planet, and according to the United Nations, coal-burning plants, energy producers, the textile sector and livestock are the leaders in environmental footprint. Nevertheless, mining has also been identified by the UN as an extremely dangerous business activity for the environment, mainly due to its capacity to contaminate water.
This is why taking care of the environment is a task we must also face from the jewellery sector. And it is necessary to do so placing special emphasis on the extraction of precious metals. The study titled “The hidden cost of jewellery” published by Human Rights Watch confirms that the large-scale industrial mines have caused dangerous contamination due to the dumping of mining waste. This contamination is mainly caused by the use of mercury, used to extract gold from the rocks. But as is being seen in many productive sectors, jewellery is also an activity that can be undertaken with total respect for the environment. However, to achieve this we need the commitment of the economic players from the sector, a commitment that in the case of jewellery, is sadly still a minority.
Extracting precious metals cleanly is possible
The extraction of precious metals, often in developing countries in Africa and Latin America, is a cause for concern. Even the OECD has established the Kimberley Process, a guide for the responsible supply of minerals. Sadly, at present compliance with this guide is merely voluntary, and there is not sufficient evidence to confirm that this is just not enough. In contrast, the Alliance for Responsible Mining does in fact guarantee sustainability in the extraction of precious metals. At Majoral our jewels obtain the Fairmined logo, which means our precious metals are sustainable. And the experience of these last few years has led us to confirm that it is indeed possible to produce jewellery that respects the environment.
A commitment to avoid toxic metals
However, the task of jewellery to protect the environment does not end with the extraction process of precious metals, since there are many other commitments to be made. One of them is the elimination of the use of toxic metals in jewellery. As it stands today, jewellery products may include four toxic metals: nickel, cobalt, cadmium and antimony. Among these, nickel is a metal dangerous to people’s health, but it can also degrade the environment if it enters into contact with the land and water. At Majoral we believe it is much more efficient avoiding the use of contaminating raw materials than later fighting to recycle them.
At Majoral we also believe that taking care of the environment in jewellery should be tackled from a holistic perspective that integrates the entire business activity. For this reason, we have guaranteed that the energy used in our installations is 100% renewable, we make the packaging declaration and we use completely recyclable packaging.
Taking care of Planet Earth has become not only a moral obligation but also a pressing need in order to appease natural disasters. And only our actions can mark the difference.