Responsible Sourcing of Materials

The jewellery industry has
long been associated with luxury, elegance, and the expression of love, as well
as the use of precious and rare materials such as gold, diamonds, and coloured
gems. However, the mining and extraction of these materials have also been
associated with issues such as unfair pay, environmental destruction, and
violation of indigenous land rights which is completely at odds with what
consumers and we as jewellers want. Therefore, responsible sourcing of
materials was the most important step when we started Utopian Creations in
2005. Finding suppliers whose materials were traceable and carefully evaluating
the whole chain of custody between the mine and our workshop to guarantee in
our minds that our materials and their extraction had created far less harm, or improved
communities and the environment. Thankfully over the last 20 years, responsible
sourcing in the wider jewellery industry has become a far more critical issue
thanks to the outcry from consumers and society however it’s still seen as a
side issue for most large businesses and many smaller jewellery businesses fall
into greenwashing to cover up poor sourcing decisions rather than taking the
time to research and develop their supply chains.

Responsible sourcing has
always been and will continue to be the cornerstone of Utopian Creations. It
enables us to create beautiful jewellery infused with love and compassion that
enriches our customers’ lives and the lives of all in the supply chain.

Fair Pay

One of the most significant
issues associated with the mining and extraction of precious and rare materials
is the exploitation of workers. It is essential to ensure that workers involved
in the mining and extraction process are paid a fair wage and have access to
safe working conditions. Through responsible sourcing practices, companies can
ensure that their suppliers comply with local and international labor laws and
human rights standards. Additionally, companies can promote worker empowerment
by providing training and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. Here in
Australia mining companies are for the most part forward thinking in this area
and most employees are governed by strict laws that protect workers. This
becomes far greyer in other parts of the world where small-scale mining is
often unregulated, incomes are lower, and exploitation is a constant concern. It’s
in these situations that our long relationships within these countries pay off,
allowing us to purchase from the source rather than long supply chains that
stuff the pockets of traders, not the hardworking miners.

Protection for the

Another critical issue in
the jewellery industry's sourcing of materials is its impact on the
environment. Mining and extraction activities often result in deforestation,
soil erosion, water pollution, and biodiversity loss. Therefore, we take
measures to source materials with a lower environmental footprint and ensure
that our suppliers adhere to sustainable mining practices. When evaluating suppliers,
we look for things like the use of renewable energy sources, water management
strategies, strategies to reduce waste generation, and importantly the impact on
the wider environment and native species. By only choosing materials sourced in
this way we significantly reduce the harm caused and boost the suppliers and
miners who care for our planet.

Conservation of traditional

Many mining activities take
place in areas inhabited by indigenous and local communities that have a long
history of belonging to these lands. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that
their cultural heritage, livelihoods, and human rights are respected and
protected. Through responsible sourcing practices, our suppliers consult and
engage with local communities to understand their needs and concerns.
Additionally, some of the larger suppliers we work with support community
development projects that promote sustainable livelihoods and cultural
preservation. It’s through this work and increased pay that your purchasing
power can increase the standard of living for many indigenous communities while
working to protect their traditions and customs.

Protection of indigenous
land rights

Indigenous and local
communities have a unique relationship with the land and resources that they
depend on for their livelihoods and cultural values. Therefore, their land
rights must be respected and protected against any violation or expropriation.
Here in Australia protection of Indigenous land rights is written into law and
most mining companies work closely with indigenous leaders to protect the land
and increase indigenous education and participation. In many other parts of the
world, governance has been slower, and more care is needed to ensure we work
with groups that respect indigenous and local land rights and adhere to
international human rights standards. In 2015/16 we were part of a push to enable
diamond mining rights for the indigenous people who have been disenfranchised by
their government. Through donations provided by us and others the Marange
Community Museum was established in 2017 to show the deep cultural links the local
communities have to the land with the hope of a more equitable outcome.

sourcing of materials through well-established chains of custody is crucial to
ensure fair pay, protection for the environment, conservation of traditional
communities, and indigenous land rights. This is an essential part of our business
that we continue to work at daily to ensure that our products are ethically
sourced and contribute to sustainable development, thereby building trust in local
communities and providing our customers with gifts of love that come from places
of love. There will be many different gemstones that you won’t find on our website,
and this is due to our strict responsible sourcing policies. We hope that
through our decision-making, we are supporting small communities and the
environment, building a more equitable and sustainable future for everyone.