One of our passions at New World Diamonds is helping to promote a sustainable future through our creation and sales of lab-grown diamonds. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you have surely heard of the global climate crisis we are facing. We are not trying to scare you, but scientists from the UN released a report back in October 2018 that detailed how we will see food shortages, wildfires, mass die-offs of coral reefs, and more climate-related issues by 2040 if we don’t take critical actions, stat. Unfortunately, many people are unsure how to take action, as we are caught in a sticky web of political rhetoric and industry-driven marketing efforts that only expand the confusion around environmental impacts that are causing the climate crisis.
The good news is, however, many leading governments and organizations are blazing trails to do their part and to inspire others to take immediate action. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these initiatives, like Starbucks banning plastic straws, renewable energy surging to 18% in the US, the USPS launching electric delivery trucks, and Amazon raising the minimum wage to $15/hour (yes, sustainability involves economics and worker rights, too!). All of these are small steps in the right direction to create a future that we all can live equitably in — but one industry that we don’t see making headlines yet is the fashion industry. From fast fashion and throwaway culture through to diamond mines, there is a huge opportunity to improve in creating sustainable fashion. In this blog, we’re unpacking what you need to know about sustainable fashion and how that pertains to diamond rings and ethical diamonds.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is a complex topic, and most consumers have a specific outlook on what it means based on the marketing messages we’ve been hit with over the last decade or so. In a very short way, sustainability can be thought of as creating a future that doesn’t deplete the Earth’s resources. It means that our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on will have a safe place to live, work, and play. To get more technical, we will draw on the definition of sustainability as defined by sustainability experts at UCLA: “the physical development and institutional operating practices that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, particularly with regard to use and waste of natural resources. Sustainable practices support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality. Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used.”
So, as you can synthesize from all of this, opportunities for better sustainability practices are present across all industries, and making more sustainable choices is something we can all strive for. As we mentioned above, sustainable fashion (clothing and jewelry alike) has not become a mainstream topic, but it’s one of our goals to educate consumers on the un-sustainability of the mining industry and to share how lab-grown diamonds are the best option for sustainable, ethical diamonds.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Before we get into more specifics about why the mining industry is so unsustainable, we think it’s helpful to define what sustainable fashion means and what all it entails. It’s not as easy as recycling your clothes, for example — you have to consider the entire life cycle of a product in order to understand its sustainable implications from conception to end-of-life of the product (even though lab-grown diamonds are forever!); The most comprehensive definition of sustainable fashion comes from Green Strategy, a consultancy firm that helps businesses in the fashion and textile industry to improve their sustainable and circular business practices:
More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components. From an environmental perspective, the aim should be to minimize any undesirable environmental effect of the product’s life cycle by: (a) ensuring efficient and careful use of natural resources (water, energy, land, soil, animals, plants, biodiversity, ecosystems, etc); (b) selecting renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc) at every stage, and (c) maximizing repair, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components. From a socio-economic perspective, all stakeholders should work to improve present working conditions for workers on the field, in the factories, transportation chain, and stores, by aligning with good ethics, best practice and international codes of conduct. In addition, fashion companies should contribute to encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, caring and washing practices, and overall attitudes to fashion. (Green Strategy, June 2014)
The lab-grown diamonds that we create and sale at New World Diamonds help mitigate the environmental and socio-economic problems in the mining industry, which we’ll describe in more detail below.
What are the sustainability issues in the mining industry?
The aggressive mining of diamonds over the past decade have done an incredible amount of damage to the environment and to the workers alike. From leaving massive holes in the ground that decrease biodiversity through to the issue of child labor in mines, it’s time to shine a light on the ways which mining detracts from a sustainable future.
Why are lab-grown diamonds a more sustainable solution?
While many people know about blood diamonds and are on the hunt for ethical diamonds, many of us never considered all of the environmental and worker issues associated with mined diamonds, and once we learn better — we want to do better. That’s why we are so happy that lab-grown diamonds are now becoming a widespread solution to the issues. Because these diamonds are created in the lab, which is a controlled environment, consumers don’t have to worry about all of the negative environmental impacts listed above. Nor do consumers have to feel concerned about the use of child labor or underpaid workers who work in dangerous conditions, given that lab-grown diamonds are created by scientists.
At New World Diamonds, we also boast a sustainable edge and are confident that we offer the best lab-grown diamonds, given that all of our diamonds are created in the United States. This is significant because it means that our diamond rings aren’t shipped across the world to make it to your finger — which cuts down even more on carbon emissions!
How do lab-grown diamonds support the SDGs?
An incredible resource for all things sustainability is the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN created these goals to form “the world's best plan to build a better world for people and our planet by 2030.” We decided to cross-reference the 17 SDGs when researching the sustainability issues at hand in the mining industry, and we were so proud to find how lab-grown diamonds are helping to support the following SDGs by providing an incredible alternative to mined diamonds:
Everyone is a stakeholder in creating a sustainable future, and we all have a lot of power in the consumption choices that we make. At New World Diamonds, we firmly believe in a sustainable mission and are so glad that people are making the switch to lab-grown diamonds. If you’re looking to find the best lab-grown diamonds at the best price on the market, look no further than our stunning collections of ethical diamonds. Diamond rings, pendants, earrings, loose diamond stones — we have something for everyone in your life who is committed to a more sustainable future. Need some ideas on where to start? Check out this Gift Guide for Them, our Colored Diamond Gift Guide, or this Gift Guide for Yourself.