Pamela Love explains how she employs socially sustainable practices within business and design:
1. We made the decision to run our studio on wind power instead of fossil fuel. It’s really easy for you to switch to solar, wind, or hydropower. You can use Con Edison Solutions or Green Mountain Energy in NYC. Switching to green energy is environmentally beneficial because it there are no emissions of carbon dioxide, mercury, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide or particulate matter into the air, water, or soil. It derives from unlimited renewable sources and doesn’t require fossil fuel extraction that damages the land. It can also save you money. If you are not in New York City you can contact your energy provider and ask for alternative solutions to fossil fuel.
2. We use energy saving light bulbs in all of our light fixtures. These actually save you money and last longer. We use ENERGY STAR bulbs that use about 75% less energy and last 6 times longer than average incandescent bulbs. According to their website, in 2007, Americans saved $1.5 billion by switching to ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs. The energy saved could light all the households in a city the size of Washington, DC for over 30 years. Put another way, changing these bulbs removes as much greenhouse gas pollution as planting 2.85 million acres of trees or taking 2 million cars off the road each year. Think about how much of a difference we could make if everyone switched.
3. We manufacture our jewelry pouches with women’s cooperatives in Rwanda through an organization called Indigo Africa. By doing this we help create work for women in an area in need. The efforts there will contribute towards the resolution of labor issues while empowering marginalized and impoverished women by providing them with both valuable job skills and a steady income. Additionally, this creates a packaging alternative that does not utilize paper or plastic. We try to order more packaging than we think we will need for a season to minimize the carbon output created by multiple international shipments. When we do use traditional packaging we use 100% recycled cardboard boxes.
4. We are committed to producing and finishing every piece domestically in the United States, rather than outsourcing to factories overseas. This approach helps create jobs in New York and significantly cuts down on the negative environmental impact that is caused by overseas production and shipping. Additionally, we source the majority of our stones from domestic mines that engage in ethical mining practices. Our decisions to use certain materials are based on whether or not they are available locally. If you are interested in working with gemstones that are mined domestically you can find more information here: www.geology.com. They also have a directory of pay to dig mining operations in the eastern and western United States where you can mine your own stones the old fashioned way!
5. Recycling is extremely important to our business. We work with recycled metals as much as possible and no metal goes to waste. All excess scrap is reused or recycled for further jewelry use. If you are going to refine your excess metal we recommend using Hoover and Strong. They utilize environmentally friendly refining techniques. For casting our metals, we use companies like Roni Casting or Hoover and Strong who both utilize 100% recycled casting grains. In addition to recycling our metal, it’s important to recycle in general. One thing we have noticed that can make a big difference and save us money is to recycle cardboard shipping boxes and packing materials, such as bubble wrap, plastic bags, and tissue paper. Every box that comes through our studio gets reused for shipments. If customers receive a stamp that says “we recycle” or “recycled” we find that customers understand receiving their items in a box that is less than pristine, since it is environmentally safe.
Photo credit: James Perkins