Greenwashing is the practice of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound than they actually are. For jewelry company owners who want to genuinely adopt and promote sustainable practices, it's essential to be transparent, authentic, and committed. Some key points to keep in mind to avoid greenwashing:Manufacturing
- Third-Party Certification: Wherever possible, obtain third-party certifications to validate your claims. Reputable certifications can provide an unbiased proof of your commitment to sustainability. Example of audits and certifications for jewelry and industries throughout commerce can be researched on SCS Global.
- Supply Chain Oversight: Provide detailed information about your supply chain. This includes how raw materials are sourced and how you ensure ethical labor practices. Work with your manufacturer to request data sheets on materials and do random tests yourself to verify the materials and safety of your jewelry.
- Truthful Advertising: All marketing and advertising materials must truthfully represent your sustainability efforts. Never exaggerate or make false claims and if you're not sure, verify.
- Avoid Ambiguous Language: Terms like "eco-friendly," "natural," or "sustainable" are often vague and can be misleading. Provide concrete details to back up such descriptions or include data, information, and statistics on your sustainability page to define what you mean by "sustainable".
- Consistency: Make sure that sustainability is a consistent part of your brand image and not just a one-off campaign.
- Materials: Opt for sustainable, recycled, or responsibly sourced materials. The use of conflict-free stones and recycled metals is a step in the right direction. Have policies in place or work with your manufacturer to build your company policies. Within the jewelry industry, search for reputable vendors of gold and silver. An example of ethically-sourced gold and silver includes Fairmined.
- Manufacturing Process: Learn about your manufacturer's process. Visit their factory and witness the process first-hand.
- Waste Management: Consider your operations. In addition to your products consider things like shipping and packaging materials. Work with your jewelry manufacturer to reuse things like plastic bags whenever possible.
- Energy Use: Be mindful of your energy consumption and aim to use renewable sources where possible. Work to reduce emissions by reducing flights and travel if possible.
- Open Communication: Make it easy for customers to find information about your sustainability efforts and to ask questions. Respond openly to criticism and admit mistakes if you make them.
- Employee Training: Educate your employees about the importance of sustainability so they can also be credible sources of information for customers.
- Continuous Improvement: Sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Always look for ways to improve and expand your sustainability efforts.
- Report and Update: Regularly update your customers on the progress you are making toward sustainability goals. One way is to publish an impact report on your website or share updates throughout your marketing channels.
Consider adopting a sustainability framework that speaks to your brand values. Some are very in-depth and require a rigorous certification process like B Corp certification, while other resources like the United Nations 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) or Fashion Revolution offer resources that you can use to adopt into your sustainability goals and communication to customers. Read our blog posts that share more more on each of these resources to consider as a jewelry brand owner:
By implementing these practices, jewelry company owners can avoid greenwashing and genuinely contribute to continuous progress and making things better in their industry.