I have to admit that there are so many paths that being environmentally friendly will lead me down that some days it can be a little overwhelming. Organic, biobased, recyclable, biodegradable, compostable, natural, non-toxic, BPA-free, phthalate-free, and so on, and so on, and so on! What about Fair Trade? What exactly does that mean? According to the all knowing Wkipedia; fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries and promote sustainability.
There is a new company called The Andean Collection that creates fair trade and highly fashionable jewelry. Their jewelry is created by artisans in Ecuador who are paid a decent wage (compared to the average in their area) under good working conditions (no sweat shops). A portion of the profits of the Andean Collection even go toward educating the local artisans and their families. The Andean Collection is working to ensure that the artisans have a realistic path out of poverty. I think this is a wonderful step in reaching out to communities and giving them the skills they need to improve their lives. Too bad we can’t make this work here in the US with our own impoverished communities…but that’s a story for another day!
The Andean Collection released their new Fall 2009 line of jewelry and it is Eco-fabulous! I especially like the line of acai seed necklaces and bracelets. The bracelet shown here is the natural and turquoise wrap bracelet and was made by Olga Lucia Moran. You may recognize the word acai from the grocery store; it’s becoming a popular diet drink. It comes from the acai palm in the South American rain forest where they harvest the fruit for food and beverages. To make jewelry from acai there are several steps that include drying, sanding, polishing, drilling, hand dyeing, sanding, and polishing before it is sent to the artisan. They are hand dyed using non-toxic textile dyes. I can’t image how long the process took to create just this one bracelet.
Artisans use other natural materials (all harvested sustainably) found in the rain forest including jabon, tagua, and huayruru. There materials have been used for generations!
The Andean Collection also operates an environmentally friendly office. Product tags and marketing materials are printed on recycled paper, and they continually strive to reduce their carbon footprint. In their offices, they take great efforts to conserve resources, including using energy efficient lighting and of course, recycling.
Take a look at their new Fall 2009 product line and let me know what your favorite piece is? I’m really enjoying my acai wrap bracelet!