Melissa Joy Manning explains how she employs socially sustainable business and design practices:
1. As a certified green company, one of the most important parts of our manufacturing process is the utilization of recycled metals. We partner with Hoover & Strong, also a certified green company, who specializes in refining and reusing precious metals. They offer finished product, findings, casting grains, and raw materials.
2. I endeavor to control my carbon footprint but with offices on both coasts I am always on a plane. Our company exclusively uses Delta, another environmentally friendly company. Aside from in-flight recycling, Delta offers passengers the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Using their online calculator is quick, efficient & inexpensive. Adding carbon offsetting to my travel routine has been easy and affordable.
3. Aside from travelling for both work & inspiration, we ship a lot of boxes. When I started doing the math, I realized that even though we were using recycled materials we were creating a lot of pollution by sending our jewelry to our consumers. Through the UPS carbon neutral program, we are now able to offset every box we ship. In one simple step, UPS makes it easy for us to go the extra mile and ensure that every recycled box we send causes no harm to the environment. The extra few cents per shipment go to Gold Standard, Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), and Climate Action Reserve (CAR) certified assets that support global projects in Columbia, Thailand, China and the US.
4. Part of our sustainability directive includes supporting local charities through various philanthropic measures. Our most favorite way to do this is to shop for office supplies! Give Something Back is an alternative office supply company whose business model supports philanthropic giving. To date they have given more than $5 million dollars to accredited non-profits. We purchase all of our back office supplies here with the knowledge that we are creating positive change just by spending money!
5. Social sustainability is also incredibly important to me. When I first started my company there was little to no opportunity for other artists to sustain a career in the jewelry industry. I wanted to help change this so as I scaled my business I made sure that we domestically manufactured in our own studios in NY & CA. Aside from offering living working wages we offer 100% health benefits and alternative benefit packages. We’ve been able to incorporate these practices by being active participants in developing communities. Having operations in development zones gives us tax credits that help offset the prices of domestic labor. We’ve learned how to do this with the help of multiple companies who support US made industry and, surprisingly, the IRS:
Learn more about Enterprise/Empowerment Zone Tax Credits here:
Cool organizations who offer support, grants, and awards for domestically manufactured goods:
ICA- Inner City Advisors:
Pacific Community Ventures
Photo credit: James Perkins