We can always do better.
We recognise that sustainability is an ever-evolving conversation – there’s always room for improvement, no matter how small the switch.
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 sustainable 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.
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
We design products to be loved for life. From our minimal aesthetic and focus on personalisation, to our selection of exclusively long lasting materials, each piece will last and remain loved far beyond just a season.
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.
Therefore 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 repairs service that is easily accessed by all our customers.
In 2021 we have been focussed on how we can repurpose the wax and rubber used in the process of jewellery making. This includes wax being repurposed as moulding material for other manufacturers, and rubber waste being repurposed in the construction industry. Although as a small brand we do not create a huge amount of this waste, it's important to consider where it goes.
“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 sustainable, we recognise the need to off-set where we fall short. We know that carbon calculations are not perfectly accurate but they are a way to take immediate climate action.
We have employed specialists who scrutinise each of the projects we fund, partnering with organisations like Pachama, to ensure we make informed, data-driven decisions about the best places to allocate funds to have measurable, positive climate impacts - both from the carbon standard by which they are measured, but also in relation to the conservation, biodiversity, and community based impacts they have.
Carbon positive workforce
From CEO to executive, we offset our employee’s business footprint and private footprint including home electricity use, and hobbies. We have found a brilliant partner who ensures that we invest in the right and most effective projects, which not only hold the highest certification such as Gold Standard & REDD+, but have also been approved by a specialist climate committee. A recent project we are excited to support works on the preservation of untouched rainforest in Brazil’s most biodiverse region.
As a global brand with international supply chains and customers, we recognise the need to streamline shipments and offset those we inevitably make. We work closely with our freight partners to calculate our footprint and offset our footprint each year.
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.
Gemstones have a complex supply chain and we recognise the need for more transparency. Although we may be small we are taking steps to ensure that over 80% of stones on Otiumberg are either traceable, reclaimed or manmade within 5 years.
Today, we work closely with our workshops to ensure we have as much evidence as possible around the sourcing of each one of our stones. This ensures we avoid any areas of conflict and that they are of untreated and natural origin.
It’s essential that each stone complies with the United Nations guidelines at the very least, and we have recently rolled out a more in-depth survey with our stone suppliers to obtain even more transparency. The more we grow, the more we can continue to push for change.
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.