Pandora, the world’s biggest jewellery brand by products sold, announced on Tuesday it has ceased using mined metals in its products as it moves to a more sustainable business model.
The announcement comes a year in advance of its initial 2025 target set in 2020. At the time, 71% of its precious metals were from recycled sources. The company says it will now only use recycled gold and silver to produce its jewellery in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental concerns related to mining activities.
Recycling gold and silver requires significantly less energy and fewer resources than mining metal from its source, Pandora said in a press statement, which also credited the “strong commitment” of its suppliers.
The carbon footprint of recycled silver is one-third that of mined silver, and recycling gold emits less than 1% of the carbon emissions from mining new gold, according to the company’s calculations. It aims to avoid approximately 58,000 tonnes (t) of CO₂ per year with this process.
Pandora buys around 340t of silver and 1t of gold per year. Its supply chain generated 264,224t of CO₂ in 2022, according to its annual report. The Danish company, which sold 103 million pieces of jewellery in 2022, has two factories in Thailand and is currently building a third in Vietnam. Rival jewellers such as Monica Vinader and Missoma also advertise their jewellery as being made from 100% recycled silver and gold.
Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik said: “Precious metals can be recycled forever without any loss of quality. Silver originally mined centuries ago is just as good as new, and improved recycling can significantly reduce the climate footprint of the jewellery industry.”
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The company now only uses source materials that are certified as ‘recycled’ by the Responsible Jewellery Council Chain of Custody, a voluntary membership organisation that traces the sustainability credentials of jewellery business supply chains.
Pandora expects to craft its new jewellery with 100% recycled silver and gold from the second half of 2024, it says, because it needs to up its remaining inventory of mined metals. Last year, 97% of the silver and gold sourced for Pandora’s jewellery was recycled.
The company added that it has introduced new processes and equipment to ensure the complete segregation of mined and recycled metals across the entire supply chain, including sorting, melting and manufacturing, to increase the transparency of its operations relating to other metals it uses that might still be from mined sources.