Sustainable entrepreneurship 3

Eco-friendly jewellery

An actual contribution or greenwashing?

I often see this in companies with eco-friendly products: eco-friendly jewellery. With the following text, the products are touted.

.. all goldsmiths and artisans in our network work with manual processes, making one piece at a time, thereby reducing, reusing and recycling materials, and thus our footprint on earth. Brass is a natural and sustainable material derived from the earth.

Now, this is an example of greenwashing. Brass does not occur in nature. It has been made since prehistoric times by melting copper with the mineral zinc spar.

Any production is environmentally harmful. Therefore, I cannot make eco-friendly jewellery and sculptures. They stem from an inner urge to shape my feelings. It is something I cannot resist. But I can make choices in production that reduce the pressure on the environment. Minimise my waste streams, use green energy and recycle. An even more efficient way is to process my production waste into a product further. I do so with the stone waste that I grind into pigments. For example, I can use an egg yolk to make tempera paint to paint wood. It is the many little bits like this that help. But what doesn't help is only giving consumers the idea that they are making a responsible purchase. That is just deception!

You can read how to make pigments in my blog, Making pigments yourself.