It feels yuck to think that your do-gooder business might actually be harming the world. As a social business owner, if I were using unethically sourced materials to create my jewelry, it would be at least ironic and at most devastating. While researching the companies I buy from I uncovered both ethical and unethical practices and have made adjustments accordingly. Below are listed my current suppliers and information they provide on their commitment to ethical business practices with regard to the effect they have on humans and the environment.
Porcelain – I use Laguna Frost 6 Porcelain WC-437, a Laguna Clay. This company manufactures clay in the US but does import some minerals from abroad. For my specific porcelain they import kaolin from New Zealand. From what I can dig up, although mining natural resources is not sustainable and does use up the earth’s supply, the mining practices themselves are not unethical.
Metal jewelry findings and packaging materials – Rio Grande, as stated on their website: “Rio depends heavily on the natural environment for the raw materials our business needs. We believe this dependence carries a responsibility to be a good steward of these resources, and we take that responsibility seriously. In a variety of ways, we strive to minimize any negative impact to the environment and its resources, and we actively work to have a positive influence on the world around us. In doing so, and by passing along this information, we also help our customers be mindful of where their materials come from, and how they can in turn minimize their own environmental footprints to the extent they wish.”
Wood - For my Branching Out line I am using maple scraps. My first few samples were birch, but, thankfully, both woods are considered sustainable.