Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery

Jewellery is often associated with something permanent and long-term. Especially the jewellery made out of precious metals and possibly containing precious gems. Their beauty is celebrated for years to come as they don’t decay, and they can be passed on as heirlooms to future generations. I have a lovely golden necklace with a ruby from my mother, which I cherish! I remember wanting to play with it when I was a little girl and when I grew up my mother gave it to me. It is special, it is beautiful and it reminds me of my mother. I am sure many of you have had beautiful stories with jewellery from engagements, presents or dates. I would love to hear them!

The one thing we don’t want is to look at our jewellery day after day and be reminded of the damage it might’ve had on our planet or people. However, sadly, this is the case with many high street jewellery, nevertheless of the undying efforts of NGOs, consumers and even jewellers. We’ve all heard about the blood diamonds, but who’s heard about the unethical and very environmentally disruptive way gold, platinum or gems stones are produced? I found out about it only recently, and couldn’t have imagined how widespread the problem is.

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery - byLiiL

WHAT ARE THE ETHICAL ISSUES IN THE JEWELLERY INDUSTRY

  • Mining and Toxic Waste – Mining requires certain toxic chemicals to extract precious metals cost efficiently. It produces a lot of toxic waste, which is a mixture of different chemical, which often ends up in local waterways contaminating local ecosystem.
  • Destroying the Ecosystem and Relocating Populations – Toxic waste is often dumped in the local waterways where it contaminates and kills not only the aquatic life but also the local ecosystem, enters the food chain and destroys peoples drinking water. People are often forced to relocate without an incentive and they lose their livelihoods. Examples 1 and 2.
  • Human Rights Violations – People are often forced to work in the mines with lower than minimum wage in dangerous conditions. They can face job fatalities with rock falls and tunnel collapses as well as experience heat exhaustion and get various respiratory diseases such as lung cancer or tuberculosis.
  • Blood Diamonds – Warlords use diamonds as a currency to finance their illegal war efforts.
  • Jewellery Production – Energy used to make jewellery, packaging materials, toxic dyes and chemical disposal.

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery - byLiiL

Thankfully there are better alternatives and jewellery industry seems to try and change things. It is still not easy to find absolutely sustainable options, but there are several companies that are driving the change and showing that customers want their jewellery to be ethical and sustainable! One of these companies is Cred Jewellery. My fiance stumbled upon Cred Jewellery when he was looking for a birthday present for me and after I received my beautiful earrings I decided to make an investigation into the company. I was happy to learn that their webpage offered an answer to all my ethical questions. Cred Jewellery works with their partners to keep the supply chain transparent, so you know exactly where the items in your jewellery come from.

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery - byLiiL

FAIRTRADE GOLD AND SILVER

I found it fascinating to learn that sustainable mining is said to be a practice of artisan and small-scale miners, where they refill and replant topsoil to minimise mining impact, and use non-toxic and have low energy requirements. Oro Verde is owned by 194 families in Columbia to produce responsible and traceable gold and platinum. It is a collective that provides small-scale and artisanal miners profitable activity whilst keeping it traceable and fairtrade.

Cred Jewellery used only Oro Verde gold and was one of the first companies to pay a premium for ecological gold. The premium is then invested by the mining community the way they need it. All the mining is done under stringent social and environmental criteria and is independently audited. Did you know that silver is often a by-product of gold mining and requires less energy to produce? Neither did I!

RECYCLED SILVER AND PLATINUM

Platinum is a very energy intensive to get off the ground and is very rare. In addition, medical and catalytic converters use it and require it more than the jewellery industry. Therefore recycled platinum is much more sustainable option and virgin platinum. Cred Jewellery uses only recycled platinum and some of its silver is recycled.

GEMS AND DIAMONDS

All of Cred Jewellery diamonds are certified conflict-free by Kimberley Process. There has been critique about whether Kimberley Process is as reliable a source of diamonds, but there is no other body to certify this yet. Actually, there is no fairtrade mark for gemstones and diamonds yet, however, Cred is working hard to source gems responsibly with economic justice to people involved.

In addition, Cred is working hard to help the people involved in the mining processes from safer working conditions to healthcare and education. Their source in Namibia established a jewellery training school for those who were previously disadvantaged due to mining practices.

Ethical Jewellery by Cred Jewellery - byLiiL

I was definitely impressed by what Cred Jewellery is already doing to help pave the way for sustainable and ethical jewellery and am so happy to wear my earrings with a good conscious!

Read more about sustainable and ethical jewellery from ethical consumer and check the Cred Jewellery website here!

 

How do you think we should address the ethical and sustainable problems in the jewellery industry?

With love,

Lii

 

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Why I Don’t Shop On Black Friday – The Issue With The Sales Culture

It is the time of the year again when shops are filling with sales signs, people have made lists in anticipation of what is going to be on sale and hoping to find the best bargains for Christmas presents or in clothes and technology. In the USA people are going crazy and hurting themselves when pushing into the shops to be the first one to get the long-awaited bargain and in the UK people are browsing through the Amazon deals finding what they think are treasures. Mostly this is just the start of the stressful time before Christmas and we could argue whether sales and high expectations for Christmas are making the time ‘less wonderful’. I have to agree that every year I do check the Black Friday deals, but somehow none of the sales have so far enticed me enough to buy something, or I am just too late and the deals are already gone.

Lately, been more involved with small businesses I have come to see sales and especially Black Friday as the villain of the retail and quality products. There are numerous articles on why Black Friday is not really benefitting the retail industry, but of course not quite as many as ‘find the best bargains on Black Friday’, unfortunately. Black Friday, however, is not a problem only for retailers but for the consumers and for our environment as well!

Why I Don't Shop On Black Friday - The Issue With The Sales Culture - byLiiL

The Sale Is An Illusion

It is widely known that retailers either raise the prices during a previous month to make their sales look good, or inflate the “original price” on the add or the tag for the product making it look like a bargain. Actually, this tactic is used outside of Black Friday all the time. Have you noticed how prices on your favourite products at Asda jump up and down weekly and sometimes the sale price isn’t actually lower than the products price on a month before?

What is less widely known is that brands manufacture items specifically for Black Friday items with a far poorer quality to make up for the sale tag, especially within the technology sector. It generates additional waste and requires more cheap labour. This phenomenon is also seen in discount retailers such as TK Maxx to which brands manufacture a specific lower quality product.

Of course, there are some genuine discounts during Black Friday as well, however, in the mids of all the other falsified discounts they might be hard to find.

Why I Don't Shop On Black Friday - The Issue With The Sales Culture - byLiiL

Small Business’ Suffer

We can already see that small business’ have trouble competing with big brands pricing. I’ve heard numerous times how small business product prices seem too high for the conventional consumer. So when the big brands lower their prices it provides an uncomfortable pressure for the small brands to lower their prices as well to be able to compete.

Although Black Friday is meant to be only one day many brands and retailers, have extended their sales for a weekend or even a week. Now Amazon made it for the whole month!

Small brands generally don’t make the same profit as big brands from the items sold, as production costs are much higher for locally made items or those made in small batches, so discounting any items will probably end up in them losing on profit altogether.

If small brands do not discount their prices they are likely to miss on any product sales as customers pass them on their way to the sales shelves and racks.

Our culture seems to think it is always appropriate to have a sale. For example, Etsy, which is known to be a marketplace for small brands and which should support them, sends emails before Christmas or sales period advising sellers to discount their items.

 

Why I Don't Shop On Black Friday - The Issue With The Sales Culture - byLiiL

It Is Not Necessarily Better For The Economy

People often have “sales goggles” on when shopping during Black Friday which results in a lot of returns afterwards, where products have either been faulty or suddenly people realise they don’t need the products that they thought they were craving for.

Although big brands might sell a lot during Black Friday and other sales events advertising and returns might not make this event any more profitable than any other day.

In preparation for sales seasons, some brands keep their prices originally higher so that they won’t make a loss during the sales periods, therefore, raising the product prices. Could this be avoided if we didn’t have sales periods and rather have slightly lower priced items all year round?

Why I Don't Shop On Black Friday - The Issue With The Sales Culture - byLiiL

What We Could Do To Support A More Sustainable And Economical Trade

Instead of trying to get the best bargain we could just keep supporting the small brands with their fair prices. This will support the brand and the local economy.

The modern understanding for Black Friday is that it is the start of the shopping period for Christmas and is a completely commercial marketing tactic, so to not be swept in the craziness you could just not shop on those days.

While reading the Ethical Unicorn blog I came upon brand Very Kerry who instead of discounting their items during Black Friday gives a portion of their sales to charity, what a great idea!

 

What do you think about Black Friday and other sales events?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable News Of The Month – September 2017

What’s The Annual Value of Trees? $500 Million Per Megacity, Study Says – Research conducted by international researchers in 10 of the biggest cities in the world, where 7.5 billion people on the planet live, found that trees bring big value to people and the cities they live. It is not a surprise, but now there is research to back it up.

Sustainable News Of The Month - September 2017 - byLiiL

How 139 Countries Could Be Powered By 100 Percent Wind, Water, and Solar Energy By 2050 – A resent most comprehensive research into energy services and clean energy tells how it is possible and what are the benefits of it.

More ‘Human’ Companies Outperform Business-As-Usual Competitors – More research has emerged showing that customer’s respond to purpose rather than profit. Which could potentially be good news for small independent brands that do things differently.

Sustainable News Of The Month - September 2017 - byLiiL

Organic On The Agenda in Parliament – Taking an example from what Denmark is doing, organic produce a topic in the UK parliament. I hope they make a good decision!

New Climate Risk Classification Created To Account For Potential ‘Existential’ Threats – Researchers identified that potentially dangerous threats could hit our planet no later than 2015 due to climate change.

 

If you have read any other interesting news about sustainability I would love to hear about them!

With love,

Lii

The FINE Deodorant

Like everybody else I was long on the hunt for the natural deodorant that is aluminium and alcohol-free, is not drying and actually works. It sounds like an impossible task and I really felt as though it was! I tried a bunch of them from the high street to ordering one from MADARA, but nothing seemed to tick each box. There were several others online, which nevertheless of the great reviews I was afraid to order due to their higher price and no promise for it working for me. Your armpits, as well as any other part of your skin, can behave in a different way from everybody else and although something might work for your friends and family, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. I thought I had to settle for something that wasn’t exactly working for me but was the best option from everything I had tried until my friend brought me a sample of Fine cream deodorant.

The FINE Deodorant - byLiiL

I had never heard of this brand or their deodorants before, but my friend reassured me it was her favourite deodorant brand since she had tried it. I was excited to try the product but quite sceptical whether it would work for me and what a surprise it was! After only a first application I lasted without extra application for at least 2 days. There wasn’t even the slightest scent of odour, my armpits were feeling moisturised, dry and comfortable. Once I finished the sample sachet I knew I had to get the real deal!

The FINE Deodorant - byLiiL

FINE Deodorant is a natural, organic and vegan deodorant designed in Berlin, Germany. Their cream deodorants come in two scents; vetiver geranium and cedar bergamot. I’ve only tried vetiver geranium, which I absolutely loved, but am quite interested in the other scent as well. What for me was the most exciting thing is they are alcohol and aluminium free, how amazing is that! The idea for Fine deodorant came from the need for a natural deodorant that is healthy and it works, and that is exactly what they created. Funnily enough, they share this idea even in the name:

FINE is Italian for “end”. And this is exactly what FINE does: it finally puts an end to undesired odors from sweat that are often paired with feeling uncomfortable. And last but not least it ends your search for a clean and efficient deodorant. FINE also means “great” and “beautiful” in English of course. And that is FINE in one word!

The deodorants come in glass jars with a wooden spatula and they have the original scent in a tube as well if you prefer that. FINE is not tested on animals, it is GMO-free, Nano free, Parabens free, Gluten free, Petrochemical free and it does not include any synthetic preservatives, fragrances or fillers. They list all the ingredients used in their products on their website and even explain about their ingredients, although that is in German.

The FINE Deodorant - byLiiL

If you are not familiar with the cream deodorants, they might seem funny as it is actually a cream that you spread into your armpits with your fingers. I use a pea-sized amount, after a shower, that I massage into my armpits and enjoy the wonderful smell of vetiver and geranium that smells clean and invigorating. It dries in an instant and you do not get those white marks on your tops when putting them on!

One of my favourite things about this brand is that they offer sample sachets for you to try their product before committing to the quite heftily priced product (30mg is around €28). If you got interested, and I think you should have as my life completely turned for the better after FINE, you can find their products on their own website, which although is beautiful is not yet quite perfectly developed for the English reading customer (you are still able to order easily, but the terms and conditions are in German). They also have several other shops selling them in Berlin, all around Germany and in several online shops around Europe. In the UK you can find FINE in The Method, an Edinburgh based lifestyle store.

 

Have you heard of FINE Deodorant before?

With love,

Lii

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder?

As you have probably noticed I am all up to support the small brands and talk bad about the big brands, especially if I feel they are taking the small brands thunder with ethical or sustainable things. Not following? Let me explain. Recently I’ve seen a lot of articles about ethical swimwear; it seems there is a boom in the industry. Designers from Europe, USA, Australia and Canada, especially, are producing swimwear with various ethical ways such as GOTS certified cotton, fair trade or recycled ocean waste materials. I find it absolutely amazing to hear that these small brands are making their mark with their ethical produce!

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

If you have read about these small brands, you have probably also read about the fashion and sportswear giant Adidas producing swimwear and shoes from recycled ocean waste. My first thought was great, more marketing for the ocean conservation and sustainability. My second thought was, wait…  by using the same technology and marketing tactics isn’t Adidas taking the limelight from all the other brands within the narrow ethical fashion marketing sphere?

Recycled Ocean Waste

The highly marketed recycled ocean waste fabric is Econyl, a trademark by Aquafil which is made in Slovenia. It is a fibre made out of recycled nylon 6 which they collect from few locations around the world and some volunteers collect them discarded fishing nets. The fibre is produced in a closed loop system and can be recycled numerous times. It sounds great compared to virgin nylon and it is definitely a solution for nylon 6 waste. You can check their website if you want to read more about it.

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

There are several brands that use econyl to make their swimwear. Auria, a brand from London, was one of the first brands that used the fibre and has built a brand on making their beautiful ethical swimwear by using only econyl fabric. Koru likewise to Auria has built their brand producing ethical swimwear and only using econyl, whilst they are in New Zealand. There are several others that you can find just by googling and on the Econyl blog where they share the brands that are using their fibre. And then, of course, there is Adidas, who made a collaboration with Parley to create an eco swimwear collection and shoes to raise awareness for the ocean and marine conservation. Currently, they produce 50 % of their swimwear out of recycled materials but are aiming for 100%.

Econyl provides any brand with a sustainable new nylon fabric. Small brands don’t have to innovate to create an environmentally sustainable business. What they do with it is the difference. Small brands have to drive their sales with beautiful and unique designs, each catering to a slightly different niche market and retailing for £50-170 per swimsuit. They boast with ethical swimwear that is made out of recycled ocean waste and produced fairly by making it locally or in fair trade factories. Whereas Adidas caters to the mass market with a price to match £25-51 and although they spread the message of ocean and marine conservation to a wider public, the price questions whether the swimwear is made in fair conditions. In addition, when the small brands have been able to build their brands on the sustainable fabric, I wonder why it is taking Adidas this long to do it 100% nevertheless of their aims. Is Econyl production not quite meeting the Adidas swimwear production rates, or is it just green marketing tactics?

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

I do think that it is great there are many options to buy more sustainable alternatives than the general high street mass market options, but I do feel Adidas is stealing the thunder from the smaller brands while not being quite as committed to the cause. When googling recycled ocean waste swimwear Adidas collaboration with Parley has several first clicks, whereas I originally read about the smaller brands because I follow several ethical blogs. However, I do not think these small brands could have spread the message as wide as Adidas did, on their own. To make this planet sustainable we do need everybody working for it; producing sustainably, educating people and spreading the word. Maybe this way we challenge each of these brands to be even better and more innovative with their sustainable ways.

Pictures are from Auria, Econyl and Proswimwear websites.

 

What do you think?  Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

With love,

Lii

What I Was Up To In July

In July I wasn’t writing quite as consistently but I cut myself some slack as I was busy with work and enjoying the summer. We’ve had surprisingly quite a few sunny days in Scotland during July (not just the usual greyness throughout), so I spend many days walking, enjoying a drink in a beer garden or dreaming (who else dreams when looking out and it’s sunny?). Books were like magnets to me this month, and I finished my goal for reading 24 books in 2017 in July.

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

Sustainability was strongly on my mind through out the month, possibly because I found and got inspired by Anthony Day’s podcast the Sustainable News Report. I wrote about why I rather shop from small brands, about one sustainable fashion brand Doo.Bla.Vey and about natural and organic toothpaste brand Georganix, in addition to sharing articles on different points of view in sustainability and other topics. It is really exciting to be able to write about sustainable topics and research them and quite mind boggling to realise how little I still know about sustainability and climate change.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Happy With Plants - byLiiL

At the beginning of the month, I shared my favourite Instagram pics from June, which looked more green than I imagined they would. I also got some additions to my plant family in my house and have been ogling at them ever since I potted them in the cutest coloured pots.

Overall July was a good month and I hope August will keep the same feeling going! I would love to hear how your July was and if you got up to anything fun or enjoyed something, in particular, share in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Introducing – 1 Dress 14 Styles by Doo.Bla.Vey

The minimalistic and sustainable brand Doo.Bla.Vey caught my eye some time ago when they were doing their Kickstarter project, but I didn’t look into the brand until much later on. Similarly to Honest Rosie, a brand which I wrote last about, Doo.Bla.Vey is rocking minimalist principles trying to reduce how much women are buying and dumping fashion. Their vision is to “design multi functional and purposeful clothing toward a minimal, longer lasting wardrobe”. The founder, designer Jiayin Zheng, has so far only designed one dress – the W dress, but styling one dress in 14 ways seems to be so promising I am excited to see what else she will bring in the future!

Introducing - 1 Dress 14 Styles by Doo.Bla.Vey - byLiiL

Doo.Bla.Vey wants to do things ethically and they source their fabrics from surplus vendors and manufacture garments in Taiwanese factories that offer fair wages, good working conditions and skills training for employees.

I am really looking forward to seeing more from this brand, not only for what they design but to see information on their sustainable practices as well! At least they want to spread the message of reducing the mass consumption which is great! I would also like to see designs with less open back for women who would like such a choice. Check their website here and their great Instagram page here. All of the images are from those two sites.

Have you heard of Doo.Bla.Vey before?

With love,

Lii