Responsibility; a personal journey
We entered the jewellery industry as outsiders with a desire to create a brand that was honest and considered its impact on the people and planet.
We continue to grow the brand in a responsible and conscious way - always with an unwavering commitment to do better. We by no means know it all.
Here’s an up-to-date insight into our approach and the small steps we’re taking towards becoming a more responsible business.
Read 2021 Official Responsibility Report
Every piece of Otiumberg jewellery offers a connection and relationship to the earth, and every hand in between. It's a point we never forget, nor take for granted.
We strive to encourage a more circular and conscious craftsmanship that considers the impact of our materials and the hands that make them.
“Trying to act truly sustainably is incredibly challenging in an industry that is so driven by seasonal consumption and newness. For us, sustainable fashion means embracing a slower, non-seasonal approach and creating meaningful pieces that can last a lifetime.”
Rosanna Wollenberg, Co-Founder
The beauty of working in precious metals is that we can design pieces to be loved for life.
Combining long-lasting materials, such as sterling silver and 9-karat solid gold, with a minimal aesthetic and a focus on personalisation, we want each piece to remain an everlasting part of who you are.
Leaving the burden of trends behind, we focus on timeless and understated designs that never grow old and that make you want to hold on to them for years and years.
This approach avoids overproduction and tiring end of season sales. Our pieces will never end up in landfill because Summer has shifted into Autumn, nor will they be priced unfairly to ensure they will be profitable in sale.
Our collections are handcrafted from the recycled precious metals 9-karat solid gold, sterling silver and gold vermeil. These metals are not only beautiful but also offer long-lasting designs that are more accessible in price than the finer industry.
Recycled Metals - a lighter impact
Our workshops source our precious recycled raw metals from refineries that are certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council Chain of Custody. This certification assures us that the refinement process and supply chain is closely monitored to meet strict social, ethical and environmental standards.
Responsible Mining - a new project
While we work to have low environmental impact through recycled materials, we also recognise that mining is a vital form of livelihood for more than 100 million individuals around the globe. That's why we are in the process of exploring smaller single mine origin gold to bring into the collection.
Listen to demand
When launching a new product, we produce in very low quantities. This allows us to see the early performance of a product, helping us to calculate demand and produce accurate quantities in order to eliminate waste.
We also offer made-to-order model across around 15% of our collection which allow us to create only with direct demand, thus also eliminating excess production.
Everything we make has an impact on the planet and there is no way around this.
For us at Otiumberg, we believe we can make this impact smaller by taking a more circular approach. This means thinking about the lifetime of a product from the start of the design process, where 80% of a products impact is established.
From the very start of the process we ask ourselves how we can use recycled materials and create closed loops in production that reduce waste and minimise new inputs. We also consider the physical and emotional durability of our products to ensure they can, and will be, loved for years to come.
It's this circular mindset that lead us to establish a recycling and repairs service that is easily accessed by all our customers.
Every year we run a Life Cycle Assessment report to analyse and review our impact across the full supply chain. That means we dive into every aspect of creating jewellery from the material acquisition through to end of life. It's a fascinating process that highlights where we are doing well and where we need to do better.
“The great thing about working with precious materials is that we can offer recycling and repairs within existing systems with ease and at an accessible price.”
Christie, Co-founder & Creative Director
Recycling & Repairs Scheme
Every piece at Otiumberg comes with a year's warranty. After a year we offer an easy to access and affordable repairs service that covers all needs from re-plating to stone replacement.
For those of you that can make it into our showroom, we'd be happy to clean your Otiumberg jewellery during your appointment.
As for recycling, send us any unwanted hallmarked sterling silver and solid gold jewellery (from any brand, excluding beaded and enamelled pieces) and we’ll recycle it for you.
We also offer a nice Otiumberg incentive of £20 to do so.
We have been with the same production partners from the very beginning, and over the years have built strong and mutually beneficial relationships we are proud of today. Working honestly and transparently with our workshops in Thailand and India means we have been able to drive change from within and continue to improve the way we create jewellery.
We ensure time is taken to speak daily with our workshops and visit at least several times a year to ensure this relationship remains strong. We also request more formalised audits (we work with both the RJC and ISO certification) and data to ensure we are supported by the necessary facts and research. We know we can’t do it all ourselves. This mix of personal and professional due-diligence ensures the safe, healthy, and fair working conditions, as well as gender equality and fair wages of the staff at each of our workshops.
We believe that looking internally and improving our own production and supply chain is the best way to be sustainable. Where we fall short, we also recognise the value of certified carbon off-set projects. Here are the steps we have taken so far.
We have been working to eliminate the plastic we don’t need in our supply chain, and innovate on the plastic we do need so that it is safely reused, recycled or composted.
Producing beautiful packaging shouldn’t mean harming the environment. That’s why our boxes are made without any oil-based plastic materials and absolutely no foam. Each box and slip is crafted from 70% FSC paper with the other 30% made from recycled paper! Each jewel is packaged in a cosy pouch made from 100% cotton, the perfect place to keep your jewellery safe and sound, but if you don’t need yours, they’re 100% recyclable too.
Our suppliers are just as committed to sustainability as we are. From positive social and environmental practices, to worker’s rights and the EU Timber and FLEGT Regulations, it feels good to produce our packaging with the right people.
“One of the biggest challenges in the jewellery industry is eradicating plastic. What a lot of consumers do not see is the copious amounts of polybags used for shipping across international supply chains. This was such a tangible issue for us that we simply could not ignore.”
Rosanna Wollenberg, Co-Founder
Polybags are the clear plastic bag that protect jewellery from workshop to our warehouses. It’s the plastic you never get to see. Well, we’ve taken action. We receive each piece in renewable and sustainably sourced cellulose film bags. This material is strong yet completely biodegradable allowing us to avoid harmful polybags that are widely ingrained in international fashion supply chains.
“We recognise that producing internationally comes with a footprint, that’s why we created biodegradable cellulose bags to eradicate plastic in our supply chain, and have partnered with gold certified projects to off-set carbon where we fall short”
Rosanna Wollenberg, Co-Founder
Whilst we believe that looking internally and improving the footprint of our own production and supply chain is the best way to be responsible, we also recognise the value of offsetting where we fall short.
We know that carbon calculations are not perfectly accurate but they are a great way to take immediate climate action.
We employed specialist decarbonisation partners to roll out a Life Cycle Assessment to measure, reduce and offset our footprint effectively.
Whilst we recognise that Carbon offsetting is an imperfect solution, for a small brand, Gold Standard projects offer us a way to mitigate our impact to some degree.
The most recent offset for 2021 included investment in solar, wind and bio-mass energy projects
The smaller steps we take.
We think before we print, but when we really have to, we only use paper that is FSC certified, carbon neutral, 100% degradable & totally chlorine free.
We don't print seasonal campaign lookbooks and our accounting system is 100% digital. When we do print we use paper from sustainable sources with inks that are vegetable or soya based.
We recycle our ink cartridges and have a solid recycling system in place at HQ to ensure all plastic and cardboard gets properly recycled.
Traceability and responsible sourcing are major challenges in the natural diamond and gemstone world. We cannot deny that these materials are part of a real world, with millions of people involved in sourcing, cutting and selling.
Despite the progress we have made in other areas of our supply chain, we recognise that the industry, and Otiumberg, has a way to go. Whilst we annually map out the origin of our stones to avoid any conflict regions or known ethical issues, we recognise that purchasing can happen at least one step from the mines and that it can be hard to ascertain concrete provenance information. The associated supply chains are more complicated than metals as there are fewer established certification systems in place.
Here are some steps we take to be as responsible as possible about the stones that we use.
All our diamonds are sourced from suppliers who abide to the Kimberley process. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade. Although we recognise the limitations of this process that have come to light in recent years, it is a positive step in the right direction.
For Otiumberg currently, purchasing responsibly sourced gemstones requires developing an open dialogue with our suppliers. We work with our workshops to choose suppliers that can illustrate traceable supply chains through documentation such as images from the mines, cutting facilities, disclosure certificates and mining licenses.
We hope to create a more intentional sourcing process that begins with our own internal education to ensure we have the information and insight to make the right decisions in this somewhat complicated industry.
Here’s where we make and source our pieces.