Sustainability….What it is and Why We Do It

November 20, 2015
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Sustainability is..

… to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
-World Commission on Environment and Development
…improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of the Earth’s supporting eco-systems.
-United Nations Environment Programme
….about stabilizing the currently disruptive relationship between earth’s two most complex systems—human culture and the living world.
-Paul Hawken

It’s a sad fact, but it’s a fact nonetheless that where there’s money, there’s problems. Given the monetary value of gemstones and precious metals, it’s no wonder they are frequently surrounded by conflict. Hence the term, “conflict free” jewelry. Countries that are termed ‘developed’ have enough problems as it is. But throw in flailing governments and throbbing social unrest, and the conflicts that come with high financial commodities such as diamonds, grow exponentially. For these reasons, Eliza Page and our designers work with ethically sourced gemstones in order to promote the previous definitions above.

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In African countries, a large continent chalk full of the beauties used to create gorgeous pieces of jewelry, diamond mining can be used to finance rebel movements against organized governments. The Kimberly Process was formed in order to avoid this occurrence and instead use diamonds that would promote life, as referred to in definition two. These diamonds are ethically sourced. Meaning, they are diamonds from a country that regulates mining by adhering to strict labor, trade, and environmental standards. This way, you wear a beautiful piece that was thoughtfully sourced and designed.
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For example, Canadian diamonds, hidden underneath the tundra of the Canadian Arctic, are mined while being held to strict national laws that are among the most rigorous in the world. These laws help protect wildlife and the Aboriginal people. Despite the desire to profit from these beautiful stones, businesses remain conscious of the life around the diamonds and ensure their current actions will not negatively affect the country’s life in the future.

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Botswana has used its diamond mining for universal primary education and to bolster the quality of life for its citizens. Diamond mining is regulated by less people to ensure closer rule adherence. Debeers and the Botswana government have come together to transform the country. They form the Debswana Diamond Company and, since the 1960’s, been responsible for transforming the country from agriculture based to a nation with one of the highest economic growth rates. Diamonds can and have caused financial and social problems, but, with the right values and vision they can completely alter the world around them. With environmentally conscious leaders, they do more than just sparkle on your finger.
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These are a few examples of those who are correctly navigating the diamond business. Unfortunately it’s all too easy for people to corrupt the trade, but we’d like to think we’re the positive spin on Newton’s Law. For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Sustainability counteracts the degradation caused by those who disrupt society with greed. So when you see that the last bit of the jewelry description reads “ethically sourced”, you can know that the beauty on your finger wasn’t taken at the cost of life quality, but rather the opposite.
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We hope we helped open your eyes to sustainability and its importance in the jewelry field. Maybe now you’ll spread the word, or be inspired to become involved. But in whatever you do, never forget the world around you. In the words of the brilliant Pocahontas, “But I know every rock and tree and creature, has a life, has a spirit, has a name.”
Stay thoughtful and happy shopping!


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