The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals target climate change, poverty, inequality, inclusive societies and access to health and education.
Here at biiju as we work towards these goals we'll be transparent about the journey & the process. This is what we can report thus far:-
Fairmined metals are produced under strict legal, economic, organizational, social and environmental criteria.
We are already using Fairmined products where we can & have started the process of becoming a Fairmined licensed brand. We'll keep you updated on our progress!
Gold & silver are endlessly recycled & have been for centuries, but that doesn't mean it's automatically an eco-friendly option. Simply reusing metal doesn't take into account any toxic chemicals used in the process or if (& how) the waste products are repurposed.
We'll only claim a product is recycled where we can support it with evidence of proper sustainable practice.
Sky Mined, Lab Grown & Natural diamonds
Sky Mined diamonds are grown in the UK & claim to be climate positive - removing more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than are being produced in the process. For certain sizes of diamonds we're happy to say we can offer this option now :)
Laboratory-grown diamonds are made by putting carbon through a process simulating the geological conditions needed to turn it into a diamond. The positives are that the supply chain is entirely transparent & there are no human rights violations. They're also less expensive, have the same chemical properties as natural diamonds and are equally beautiful. However, the high temperatures required to create them cause a larger carbon footprint than mined diamonds so they cannot be called eco-friendly.
The problems associated with natural-mined diamonds are many & well documented but the fact remains that many people around the world depend on mining for their livelihood.
There is an ongoing debate about lab-grown v natural diamonds. For the moment, we use natural diamonds in our collections & offer the choice when it comes to bespoke pieces.
This is a complex, complicated & competitive industry across every facet of it.
Cutting & Processing of Gem Materials
We work with a well known local gemstone supplier in Hatton Garden who only sources stones from factories & workshops that they themselves have visited & where they have confidence that the people employed are treated well. They reassure us that the cutting and processing of gem materials is now done in controlled environments where modern equipment and employment law is the norm. This has eliminated the problems of exploitation and child labour.
So far so good!
Gathering & Mining of Gem Materials
Before the gemstones reach the cutting & processing stage they need to be found / mined. This is much more of an ethical issue. These are materials natural to the environment we live in. Some occur very deep under the earth's crust or under oceans, glaciers or ice caps. There are also gems (pearls for eg) which come from living animals and reefs.
There are two distinctly different types of supplier:-
1. A local population that gather material as their best source of income. This often requires a lot of effort for very little gain. Thus they have no incentive or funds to restore any environmental damage they cause.
2. Multi-national mining conglomerates who operate for maximum financial gain & whose practices may be opaque. On the other hand they are usually compelled by local governments to restore the environment when mining has ceased.
Our way of tackling this minefield (pun intended :)) is to be as transparent as possible & commit our support to the institutions best placed to take positive action.
To help decrease our carbon footprint we're donating 10% of our profits to environmental agencies.