In the final months of the last year of the decade, we want to take stock of where we are as a company. Leading scientists across the globe have declared a climate emergency and looking after our environment is something we have always taken seriously.
We are an ethical, sustainable company, but what does this really mean?
Well, it means that our working practices are not detrimental to the planet or its people. It means that the products we make do not contribute to landfill or harm current or future generations. Ultimately, it is about the cost of the item you are buying, and we don’t mean money (although that is relevant – we’ll get to that later), we mean the cost to the environment, the society you are part of, the people that work directly with the item and those who work with the materials it’s made from.
So what does it mean when a customer buys from an ethical and sustainable company?
A few things. That the people who made your item – in our case jewellery – are treated well. They are highly skilled craftspeople who are regularly sent on courses to improve and refresh their skills. We don’t out-source to other countries with cheap labour. We make everything here in our London workshops. Staff are paid fair wages, are treated with decency and respect, have a pleasant and compassionate work environment and plenty of good fairtrade tea and coffee on tap! We have employees who have stayed with us for over a decade so you can be sure our staff are happy and looked after. It probably means you pay a bit more for your piece of jewellery. Because there’s a cost to alleviating the environmental and societal cost. Your heirloom is worth every penny. It also, of course, means that the materials we use are ethical.
And are gold and silver ethical?
This is more complicated. Gold and silver are metals so they have to be mined from the earth. To limit the damage this causes the best thing to do is buy recycled and reclaimed metals, and that is exactly what we use here. The precious metals we use have been in circulation for decades, so we are not harming the planet by using them. Not only that but we also offer certified Fairtrade Gold which actively benefits the communities who work with it.
How about the stones in jewellery, are they ethical?
We only work with conflict-free diamonds which are certified by the Kimberley process and can be traced back to the cutting centre where they were taken after being sealed into tamper-proof containers in accordance with this UN ratified treaty. Another option we offer to customers is Canadian diamonds which come from government-controlled mines and can be traced right back to the source. We work very closely with our trusted gemstone dealers to ensure that the other stones we use such as sapphires and rubies come from sustainable sources. We will not use Burmese rubies, for example, because of the human rights abuses currently being perpetrated against the Rohingya people.
How is quality and design linked to ethics and sustainability?
This is really what is at the heart of our company. It is not ethical, or sustainable, to produce and purchase disposable fashions and costume jewellery. They end up in landfill and contribute to the throw-away culture we desperately need to eschew. We make jewellery of the highest quality, each piece expertly designed here at Stephen Einhorn, made to last and be treasured by generations to come.
We are not interested in consumerism for its own sake. We want to put beautiful, well-made things into the world which enhance and enrich the lives of our customers and staff. That is what a Stephen Einhorn piece is all about. This is why we offer a free yearly re-vamp service, so you don’t ever need to replace your beloved jewellery: we keep it looking its very best so you can take pride in it every day.
Is that it?
Nope. Being an ethical company isn’t just about the staff, or the products, it’s a philosophy. We buy recycled loo paper (thank you Who Gives a Crap), we shop locally (Monte’s for coffee, Belle Epoque for team-meeting pastries), we use Ecover cleaning products and recycle as much as our local council will allow. We aren’t perfect, but we are always striving to do better.
Our beautiful gift packaging is almost 100% recycled and recyclable, just the inners have to be removed and we are working on that too. It has taken a while to find a company to do this for us and we are proud, we kept at it. We support local charities like The Little Angel Theatre and Freightliners Islington City Farm, donate raffle prizes for local schools and have long been supporters of the Elton John Foundation and National Aids Trust.
So what does buying a Stephen Einhorn piece of jewellery mean?
When you buy a piece of jewellery from us you can be sure you are buying from a company which has considered its ethical credentials from every angle. Where the staff are happy, the local community are served, the environment is not being filled with unnecessary pollutants and your fabulous piece of jewellery has been made with sustainable materials and practices. And will last a lifetime. You really can’t say fairer than that.