Eco-war­rior Livia Firth speaks to Char­maine Ho about sus­tain­abil­ity and Chopard’s ground­break­ing com­mit­ment to us­ing only eth­i­cal gold

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - THEJEWELS & WATCHES -

You founded Eco-Age, a con­sul­tancy that spe­cialises in sus­tain­abil­ity. Tell us more about the work you do at the com­pany.

At Eco-Age, we have three lev­els.We have our proper busi­ness clients [for whom] we cre­ate, im­ple­ment and com­mu­ni­cate sus­tain­abil­ity strate­gies. We are also ac­tivists who cre­ate ad­vo­cacy cam­paigns that make peo­ple un­der­stand the im­por­tance of shift­ing [their mind­sets]. For ex­am­ple, we cre­ated the #30wears cam­paign on In­sta­gram that asks peo­ple if they will wear some­thing a min­i­mum of 30 times; to make them un­der­stand that it’s also a mat­ter of how much they buy.Then, we also act on a level where we de­vise tools like the Green Car­pet Awards in Italy and the Com­mon­wealth Fash­ion Ex­change, and in­volve coun­tries in [sus­tain­able] pro­grammes.

You first started work­ing with Chopard in 2012 and to­day, the com­pany has an­nounced its com­mit­ment to use 100 per­cent eth­i­cal gold for the pro­duc­tion of all its de­signs.

It’s an in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment! When we started the jour­ney to sus­tain­able lux­ury, the pri­mary fo­cus was on gold be­cause it’s the com­mon raw ma­te­rial across jew­ellery and watches. So we started a strate­gic al­liance with the Al­liance of Re­spon­si­ble Min­ing (ARM), [an or­gan­i­sa­tion in South Amer­ica] that works with small-scale min­ing com­mu­ni­ties to take them to Fairmined cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. But what Chopard did was to also in­vest in the mines that hadn’t achieved the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion yet, so that ARM could then train them to achieve the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. So ac­tu­ally, thanks to their sup­port, Chopard has di­rectly im­pacted com­mu­ni­ties and brought a lot of these mines to cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.We never thought in our wildest dreams that we would be able to reach this huge tar­get in just five years.That, and the fact that this is a fam­ily-owned busi­ness; they can make de­ci­sions very quickly. They have been truly ex­tra­or­di­nary.

What can con­sumers do to show their sup­port for sus­tain­abil­ity in jew­ellery?

I al­ways say: Ev­ery time you buy, you are vot­ing and show­ing your sup­port for some­thing. So make it mat­ter.

If you had just one hope for sus­tain­abil­ity, what would it be?

That we won’t need to de­fine it any­more. Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food [In­ter­na­tional], says it best: How did we ar­rive in an era where we have to cer­tify things that should be nor­mal? So my only hope is that in the fu­ture, eth­i­cal, sus­tain­able prac­tices are the norm. And what is not nor­mal will have a huge red la­bel that says: Unethical. ■

Clock­wise from top left: Livia Firth (right) with Chopard Co-Pres­i­dent, Caro­line Scheufele (left). Jew­ellery and a watch from Chopard’s Green Car­pet Col­lec­tion us­ing Fairmined white gold, re­spon­si­bly mined emer­alds from Gem­fields’ Kagem mine in Zam­bia, and di­a­monds from a Re­spon­si­ble Jew­ellery Coun­cil sup­plier

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