Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

Mark of excellence

UK-based brand Annoushka has been upping its ethics game with the help of consulting firm Positive Luxury.

By Francesca Fearon

“If we are going to do sustainability, then we are going to do it properly,” says London-based jewelry designer and retailer Annoushka Ducas. Eight months ago, she embarked on her sustainability journey with Positive Luxury, a consultancy that helps brands evaluate how their businesses can embrace more responsible practices.

Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark certifies trust in the companies that receive it. The vetting process, which Ducas describes as “very thorough and deep,” looks holistically at all aspects of a business, including the product, suppliers, people, retail environment, and even the companies providing the utilities. Brands go through an exhaustive audit of key areas such as governance and environmental frameworks, community investment, and innovation, with the results going to Positive Luxury’s Sustainability Council and industry experts for assessment.

Encompassing 130 brands in 27 countries, the consultancy’s clients span the fashion, beauty, drinks, travel and leisure sectors, and include names such as LVMH, Aveda and Biotherm. “It is good to be part of a wider community, because they are doing this across a lot of industries and disciplines, and there is a lot of shared knowledge,” says Ducas.

Gradual change

In terms of responsible sourcing at her Annoushka brand, all the diamonds Ducas uses are Kimberley Process-certified. She’s worked directly with pearl farmers in the Philippines for many years, and her charity connections in Ethiopia give her access to a verifiable source of Ethiopian opals. She is also collaborating with Fuli Gemstones to source peridots from the gem producer’s mine in China. Until recently, the gold she used was 70% recycled, but her new Love & Commitment collection uses 100% recycled gold, and she’s working to make that the standard for all of her products. Next year, she will be looking at using reclaimed gemstones as well.

“We have to understand what is realistic,” she says. The jewelry industry can be opaque, and it’s had hundreds of years of practice. “Much needs to change, but it will not change overnight.”

Consumers are the ones driving those changes; they want to know they can trust the sources of their purchases. “It is the younger generation asking the questions,” Ducas points out. The value of getting certification from groups like Positive Luxury is that it gives clients “confidence that we have gone through a rigorous process as a business, and that we really do care about people, the planet and not just about selling a piece of jewelry — particularly if it is to be one passed down the generations. They need to feel good about it.”

Refreshing solutions

Ducas is also looking at the company culture. Working from home during the pandemic has accelerated changes like eliminating paper waste as staff become more proficient with technology. She has also found a source of little biodegradable plastic bags, a solution to a major bugbear in the industry. “It does my head in, all the little plastic bags that jewelers use. A jeweler can get through tens of thousands every year, and it’s criminal.”

She has found working with a young team refreshing, and she appreciates all their exciting suggestions. “It is a generation that really cares, and it’s totally coming from them,” she says.

For those wanting to embrace more responsible practices, she notes, “it is quite overwhelming to start with. It is a big thing to change, so take baby steps in order to make a real impact. We all must do it. We cannot put our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening, but [we must] also accept that it is not going to be a project that you tick ‘job done.’ It is an ongoing process that you have to absolutely buy into.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - August 2021. To subscribe click here.

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