100% Recycled Bling is the Next Big Thing
Recycling State of Mind
Ever wonder what happens to your smartphone when it goes caput? Well, in a few years you might be wearing some version of your phone on your wrist, or perhaps in the shape of pendant dangling from your neck, especially if you purchase your jewellery from Pandora.
Earlier this year, the world’s largest jewellery company pledged to stop using newly mined silver and gold in all of its jewellery by 2025. Why mine precious metals when you can source them from old silverware, recycled electronics, such as mobile phones or defunct computers, or other industrial waste? This is the mindset behind Pandora’s latest initiative and ongoing efforts to become a low-carbon business.
Currently, 71% of the silver and gold in Pandora’s jewellery comes from recycled sources. By making the transition to exclusively using recycled silver and gold will allow the company to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, water usage, as well as curb thenegative impacts on human rights and the environment that accompany mining.
To say the least, mining new metals is a resource-intensive endeavour. For a practice whose historical roots extend back to the time of the Egyptians and Sumerians, mining remains a cumbersome process, and one whose carbon footprint can no longer be ignored against mounting concern over climate change. For instance, the carbon emissions from sourcing of recycled silver are one third compared to mined silver, while recycling of gold emits approximately 600 times less carbon than mining new gold, according to life cycle assessments.
“Silver and gold are beautiful jewellery materials that can be recycled forever without losing their quality. Metals mined centuries ago are just as good as new,” said CEO Alexander Lacik. “They will never tarnish or decay. We wish to help develop a more responsible way of crafting affordable luxury like our jewellery and prevent these fine metals end up in landfills. We want to do our part to build a more circular economy.”
Perk not peril
For years, experts have argued that metals enclosed in electronic products could be used instead of mining. Fortunately, the quality of recycled material is the same as new silver or gold, which means that the finished product of say, a charm bracelet or a necklace, will be no different and its owner none the wiser. However, it will take time for the company’s suppliers to successfully make the shift, particularly since Pandora uses roughly 750,000 pounds of silver per year— more than any other company in the industry. In 2019, the company sold 96 million pieces of jewellery.
For Lacik and his team, the company’s shift to using 100% recycled silver and gold marks an exciting chapter in the jewellery powerhouse’s thirty-eight-year history. Further efforts to reduce carbon emissions are currently afoot and they include two additional targets: the company aims to source 100% renewable electricity at its two crafting facilities in Thailand by 2020; and as well as become carbon neutral in its operations—all by the year, 2025.
Recognising that climate change is one of the greatest challenges confronting the world today, Pandora feels compelled to act and by doing so, become a leading example to the industry. Having reaped numerous successes since its inception in 1982, the Pandora team believe that the same ingenuity that brought them global success can help lead their sustainability transformation.
“The need for sustainable business practices is only becoming more important, and companies must do their part in response to the climate crisis and the depletion of natural resources,” said Lacik, “Responsible business practices such as recycling of materials and waste have always been part of Pandora’s way of operating, and we now commit to ambitious targets to reduce our carbon emissions and help drive sustainability in the jewellery industry.”
Here’s to sporting recycled bling in 2025.