By Janita Purcell
True sustainability lies in not just what we consume but in how we use the resources that we have been given. Whilst sustainability can be applied to many aspects of ecological balance, the wellbeing of the planet’s inhabitants seems to be an afterthought for many large and powerful companies, with their products being at the forefront, taking precedence over the people employed to bring their vision to life.
It is sadly one of the many reasons that the new and recent phenomena of greenwashing has become so popular over the past few years, given that so many more consumers are making changes to become more eco-conscious by the day. Greenwashing can be defined as companies misinforming their consumers on their sustainability practices, to present themselves as more environmentally responsible than they actually are.
Despite the climate emergency that the planet is currently facing, the greenwashing phenomena is on the rise throughout many industries. In spite of its repercussions, many large companies are willing to capitalise off of consumers’ efforts to make more thoughtful decisions with what they purchase. By doing so, these powerful companies are using marketing as a tool to make sales, harming the very thing they are claiming to protect. But for true sustainability to be met, companies cannot forget that this issue is an intersectional one; local community and social sustainability should be on par with the economic interests and benefits of a company. The issue can also be seen as a gendered struggle, especially in industries such as gold mining which the jewellery sector is reliant on. Makal simply doesn’t want consumers to have to do the legwork in regards to making informed decisions about their purchases, which is why we are proud to state our ethical policies, clear as day.
Given that the jewellery industry is dependent on the mining industry, a whole host of issues can arise if ethical and moral standards are not being met or even regulated to begin with. The mining industry is an incredibly nuanced one, with the demand for product seemingly increasing. Without strict regulation, mining is both a dangerous and difficult work environment to work within, particularly for women. Not only does a Fairtrade certified source uphold environmental standards, but it raises the bar on social standards too. Although these Fairtrade sources allow us to have peace of mind both environmentally and socially, here at Makal we know that we can continue to help women in the industry, actively seeking out ways to improve livelihoods and opportunities.
The environmental inequality facing women given the lack of options in their socio-economic background is yet to be officially legislated worldwide. Makal, by partnering with The Impact Facility also aids in economic and environmental empowerment to small-scale mining communities. Given that Makal’s founder has both knowledge of the mining industry and experience working with women in this sector, she has been able to help fund the internship of a young trainer miner in Africa. With the help of Makal, Jumwa has been able to help The Impact Facility take necessary steps towards realising projects that reflect the need of and aid the community, raising funds for equipment in the process.
What sets Makal apart is that we were born with a drive to ensure that ethics are met from the get go, being the change we wish to see throughout the industry.