In recent times the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’ seem to be nothing more than tick boxes for businesses to check off and keep in line with the environmentally conscious movement. This makes it hard to tell apart brands that genuinely care about the impact of their pieces on the planet and brands that are just using sustainability as a marketing spin to push sales.
So, on World Earth Day I wanted to clearly outline what we as a business are doing to work towards a more sustainable future at V.
OUR MANUFACTURERS ARE ETHICALLY APPROVED BY SMETA
We work with globally recognised ethical trading standard SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit). Their audits encompass all aspects of responsible business practice, covering four pillars of Labour, Health and Safety, Environment and Business Ethics. In recent anonymous interviews with employees it was noted that they feel their voices are heard and opinions are valued.
OUR SILVER IS SOURCED FROM HEREAUS
We sustainably source our silver from Hereaus which is one of the world’s largest refiners of precious metals. They take waste material and using their world class expertise and technology, isolate and purify precious metals from within it. Hereaus are also a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council.
WE ARE ANTI-TREND
This one hasn’t been an easy ride for us. While other brands have profited from selling thousands of on trend copycat designs, we’ve consciously avoided the overconsumption of throwaway fads and stayed true to our value of timelessness. This has no doubt resulted in slower sales which is what we actually want - conscious and considered purchases (that’s also why we don’t offer a free returns service)! And while being anti-trend may mean we’re not always first on everyone’s buy list, through designing with longevity we hope to be your last.
In order to make beautiful stone set jewellery accessible to all (not just the very wealthy), we have to work with affordable materials and this means plating with gold. The very nature of plating means it will eventually fade but thanks to our refurbishment service, we can restore faded/ damaged/ squashed/ dog chewed (you name it we’ll fix it!) jewels back to their original glory so you can truly wear them forever.
WE OFFER MINIMAL AND RECYCLED PACKAGING
While we understand that some orders require one box per piece, we also know that some of you simply don’t need all of that packaging. That’s why we introduced our minimal packaging option so that you can choose if you would like fewer of our boxes (which by the way are 90% made from recycled paper)!
WE MAKE IN SMALL BATCHES AND NEVER BURN STOCK
Rather than see their items go on sale, a shocking number of household brand names, including H&M, Urban Outfitters, Burberry and Nike have been accused of burning their stock. Call us frugal or call us kind, we would much rather see our customers enjoy a high discount than send our jewels to the smelter to protect our image. And to combat this dilemma altogether we keep a tight inventory and produce in small batches so we never have an unwarranted amount of excess stock.
HOW WE CAN IMPROVE—CAN YOU HELP?
Though we are trying our best, as a fashion brand there is no way we can operate while leaving no effect on the planet. We hold our hands up and admit that we still use plastic bags to keep our jewellery clean and separated. Though wehave looked into biodegradable poly grip bags, due to our slower stock turn around there is a risk they may degrade prior to selling!
Similarly, shipping via sea is a much longer process and as we order in small batches we sometimes have to pull more stock in quickly, meaning we do have to use air transport for our jewellery. Our boxes take up the most room and these we do ship via sea! We are constantly on the lookout for ways we can improve and are always open to any advice any of you may have, like every other brand and consumer out there we’re still learning.