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What is the carbon footprint of jewellery?


What is the carbon footprint?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines climate change as a rise in temperature which is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases.

The Carbon Footprint is the amount of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitted by a particular activity or entity.

This includes 

Carbon dioxide CO2

CARBON

DIOXIDE

Methane CH4

METHANE

Nitrous Oxide N2O

NITROUS
 OXIDE

Fluorine Gas F2

FLUORINE

GAS

By trapping heat in the atmosphere, 

these gases contribute to global warming

Major producers of greenhouse gases include:

-1-

BURNING FOSSILE FUELS

Orange image of a factory - icon style

-2-

TRANSPORTS

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-3-

MANUFACTURING

COMPANIES

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-4-

ANIMAL 

AGRICULTURE

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-5-

DEFORESTATION

Orange image of a tree - icon style
forest that has been cut due to massive deforestation

It is estimated that deforestation itself is responsible for 

almost 20% of the total greenhouse gas emissions.

Why does the carbon footprint 

matter in fashion?

"Good design is a sustainable design."

Imran Amed - 

Founder and editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion

The fashion industry was previously responsible for around 5% of all man-made greenhouse gases with the majority of gases coming from raw materials. 


In a recent study, this number has already increased to 8% in 2018, and it continues to rise. 


2020 is thus a critical year when it comes to addressing climate change and global warming in fashion as 2019 was declared the hottest year on record. 


Global warming is not something that fashion companies operating on a large scale can continue to ignore.  

Carbon Footprint of jewellery and mining 

The carbon footprint of your jewellery can be very important as mining requires a large amount of energy.


This can be seen in traditional pit mining through the extensive use of machinery, transport and fuel usage.


The damage caused through mining materials is so extensive in certain locations that it can be seen from space.


For instance, in 2012, the heat-trapping CO2 emissions from diamond mining were equivalent to about 1.5 million cars on the road. 

1 million 

households


36,793 tonnes

of carbon dioxide

To mine 1 ton of gold. Gold production has by far the largest footprint in the entire mining sector.


250,000 cars

per year

The carbon dioxide emitted by mining 23,613 hectares of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, an area twice the size of the city of Paris!

Gold Mining in such locations has long-lasting consequences for the environment; 

making it almost impossible for a full recovery of the once healthy rainforest.  

Carbon footprint in other areas of the jewellery industry

Although mining the earth is an important generator of greenhouse gases, other areas of a jewellery company’s direct operations can be highlighted. For instance, the contribution to global warming from the transportation sector is immense.  

According to a recent analysis by True Cost,

“Air, land and water pollution emissions due to energy use and other processes on the mine site also represent a significant impact”.


If we take into account the entire supply chain, from the sourcing of raw materials to the delivery of the final product to consumers, we can imagine that the carbon footprint of a jewellery piece can be huge.   

Soil pollution due to deforestation for mining
Air and water pollution caused by a plant

What can be done to reduce 

the carbon footprint of jewellery?

“Be the change 

you want to see in the world”

Gandhi

To reduce the carbon footprint of jewellery, there is a need to lower emissions in every area of the mining sector.

In many cases, green-energy is both cost-effective and provides stable operating costs. 


Switching to the available technology through the use of drones to monitor sites, energy-efficient lighting and using advanced management strategies will allow companies to reduce their reliance on backup diesel generators.


The best way we can support the reduction of the industry's emissions is to shift consumer demand towards sustainable brands and shop ethical designs.


The jewellery sector is not immune to the continuous pressure of the market as buyers seek out environmentally friendly products.  

Sign indicating an electric vehicle only parking place

- Vehicles using clean power -

Low-Carbon vehicles are trendy and reports estimate that by using electric vehicles the reduction in emissions in the gold sector alone could be by as much as 95%

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- Energy efficient lighting - 

Switching to more eco-friendly light bulbs such as LED.

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- Advanced management tools -


Tools that would help managing energy consumption more efficiently and thus reduce the mine site reliance on backup diesel generators, for instance.

Another way we can support the reduction of the industry's emissions is to shift consumer demand towards sustainable brands and shop ethical designs. 

Scéona’s answers

At Scéona, a sustainable fine jewellery brand based in Singapore, we would not be truly sustainable if we did not take into account the carbon footprint generated by our operations. 

A lab grown diamond taken care of

- We avoid mining - 

By choosing lab-grown diamonds over mined ones as well as recycled gold, we help to reduce the carbon footprint of our creations. 


Indeed, on average, 1 carat of mined diamond generates 65kg of CO2 compared to 12 kg for 1 carat of lab-grown diamond (i.e. 5.5 times less).

- Offsetting our carbon footprint - 

When you purchase any item of jewellery from Scéona, in Singapore or worldwide online, we calculate the carbon footprint generated by the craft of your piece of jewellery as well as the shipment to deliver it to you from Singapore. 


To offset this footprint, we partnered with EcoMatcher, an organization that supports local communities in various parts of the world to improve their livelihood by planting trees.  

Carbon offset is a way to compensate for your emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere”. 


“Offsetting provides a mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the most cost-effective and economically-efficient manner”. 


Global warming is at a critical stage and we all have a responsibility to do more to reduce our impact on the planet. 

sustainable packaging

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