Our Responsibility Journey
As a family business we’ve grown from the ground up, with a personal, long-term commitment to responsibility for our actions, words and products. Whilst we may not be perfect (quite yet!), we’re always learning, listening and innovating to ensure we’re never standing still.
Here’s an up-to-date insight into what we’re proud of, as well as some small steps we’re taking towards becoming a more responsible business. Check back in from time to time as we continue to develop and grow. We know we can do better, and we’re working on it.
Read 2021 Official Responsibility Report
From our design ethos and material selection, to our non-seasonal and made to order production, we are committed to a more circular approach using the most responsible materials we can find.
We are committed to an on-going multi-criteria review of every piece we make and look forward to sharing this journey with you over the years to come.
“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
Designed for long-term love
The beauty of jewellery is that we can design pieces to be loved for life.
Combining long-lasting materials with a minimal aesthetic and a focus on personalisation, we want each piece to be loved and worn for years.
We love the idea of our pieces becoming part of our customers everyday look and identity.
Leaving trends behind to focus on timeless designs that will be worn for a lifetime, we can look to eliminate 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.
No fast-fashion for us
Lifetime wear means our products have to be strong. Our recycled metals consisting of 9-karat solid gold, gold vermeil and sterling silver, are chosen for their durability, quality and light footprint on our planet. They allow us to offer you a long-lasting design with a fair price to match. We want to make luxury accessible and this is how we do it.
Listen to demand
Pre-order and Made to Order are key features of our production process. 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. Both approaches allow us to create only with direct demand, thus 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 create our non-seasonal approach and establish a recycling and repairs service that is easily accessed by all our customers.
In 2021 we ran a life cycle assessment report to dive further into our process and supply chain with the view to analyse, reduce and offset.
“The great thing about jewellery is that we can work towards a more circular economy by using recycled raw materials and offering accessible repair services. Most people don’t realise that the majority of mined gold from ancient civilisations is actually still in circulation today.”
Recycled Precious Raw Materials
The only way we can trust our source is to ensure we know our source. Our precious raw metals are from 100% recycled sources that are recognised and certified for their quality by the Responsible Jewellery council and London Bullion Market Association. Their refinement process and supply chain is closely monitored to ensure it meets strict social, ethical and environmental standards.
Strong and mutually beneficial relationships
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 our own production and supply chain is the best way to be responsible, we also recognise the need to offset 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, BeZero, to roll out a Life Cycle Assessment to measure, reduce and offset our footprint effectively.
We used a modern portfolio theory to select our offset projects. This meant we invested in projects that actually do what they promise to ensure that we can offset a "true tonne" for every credit purchased.
Carbon Neutrality for 2020
Using the Life Cycle Assessment we were able to assess our carbon emissions for every product.
Our 2020 footprint was 216 tonnes of CO2e. The equivalent of 26 household's annual footprint. We used this information to drive reductions and of course, offset every tonne as best as we could.
Think Before We Print
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 campaigns, lookbooks and our accounting system is 100% digital. Our care booklets and tissue paper sent with every order are printed on paper from sustainable sources with inks that are vegetable or soya based.
Although we introduced a biodegradable form of plastic, we recognise now that this is not enough. In 2021 will introduce a new mailing solution that avoids this all together. In the meanwhile, please bear with us as we use up the last of our stock.
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 supports mining communities and bolsters development models that are creating deep and meaningful impact with the communities at source. There is no perfect source but we are eager to look at how we can contribute to the long term process of the improvement of the industry. This includes working with more Fair Trade and NGO supported mines.
Above Ground Diamond
Giving you the option, we will continue to work with above ground diamonds in 2021. Being one of the UK’s first partners with the Diamond Foundry we are excited to extend our above ground diamond offer further in 2021.
Here’s where we make and source our pieces.