Sprout Watches

Please forgive my typos, bad grammar, and misspelling. I am a jeweler that writes not a writer that jewels.

I realize it has been a while since my last post. Something I am working on doing more regularly…

My post today is going to dive in to what it means to be sustainable. As some of you know, or don’t know, we are very much pushing for a fully sustainable store. My last post touched a bit on our mission. Providing you access to product and services that you can feel good about supporting and wearing. What that means on our end is a lot of research and asking our suppliers the tough questions. As well as being willing to no longer do business with certain suppliers. After all we have developed relationships with these suppliers, artists, and importers over our 43 years in business. It is hard to tell someone that has done business with us for literally decades that we can no longer purchase from them until they develop a Sustainability platform for their business. Even though it has been our mission since “the next generation” took over the business (Devin and I), this is the first year we have been able to show some true implementation of our mission. All our suppliers know our stance and all of our current suppliers are on board with this mission. We certainly have areas we would like to improve, but I think that will always be the case. One can never really arrive at a point that is constantly evolving. Although I do feel we are really are in a scientific, sustainable, eco-conscious renaissance. All around us industry is literally changing how it does business. As well as more environmentally aware products being available than every before. Which leads me to the heart of this post: What does it mean to be Sustainable? And be warned, this is merely my viewpoint. A jewelry making, plant loving, documentary junkie.

So let’s get in to it. Sustainability is a MULTI-faceted (like how snuck a jewelry related word in there!) subject. One that I am sure you would be hard pressed to get anyone of us to agree upon in its totality (I hope that is the right use of that word) So here is the dictionary.com definition: pertaining to a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse. With that explanation it makes it pretty straight forward. Now with that being said and defined lets look at how we treat our environment…hmmm not sustainably (global warming, rising sea levels, and people without clean water). Let’s see how we treat our financial system…hmmm not sustainably (A financial system built on constant growth) and let’s see how we treat each other… well you get the point. Look at the countless wars going on as we speak. Even though that was a fairly depressing sentence, things are certainly changing. Information sharing is faster than ever, business’s are popping up right and left using and creating access to renewable resources (sustainable!) and we now know more about our interaction with our world than ever before. As individuals many people have certainly been leading more and more sustainable lifestyles. Where we are at currently is helping everyone to live a sustainable lifestyle. The beautiful thing is that I believe the momentum is certainly shifting in the direction of sustainable living.

Which means sustainable living really starts with awareness. Being aware of how we effect the world around us. Our friends, our neighbors, the plants in our back yards, the life in the sea, and the products we consume etc etc. A little bit of awareness goes a long way. Asking questions to those people that we get your supplies from. I mean our everyday supplies: Toilet paper, dish soap, hair gel, jewelry and so on. Every one of those products has a beneficial or a lethal impact on the environment around it. And we certainly do not need to go overboard and toss everything out, stop washing ourselves and move in to a yurt. After all we as humans are also a part of this environment. But what we need to be far better at is paying attention. We are now at the point where information is literally at our fingertips/in our pockets all hours of the day. If we are uncertain about something within an instant we can google it and presto you have 25pgs of documents on that subject. Then talk to our friends about the things we learn. It is those conversations that can really make a difference in our daily actions. After all our system (the planet) has been set up with all the necessary resources. All that we need to do is utilize them in a fashion that does not completely deplete those resources for other life as well as our future generations. And that all starts with some self examination. CAUTION: Do not self examine in a negative fashion. Beating ourselves up for not doing enough is just as bad as not doing anything. A positive roll model will bring far more people to follow their example than a negative person that lives the “greenest” lifestyle ever. It is not just about one person to be completely sustainable, it is about all of us being sustainable. After all one person by themselves will get pretty bored.

Ok something super exciting in the sustainability movement. I recently listened to a Harvard Business Review talk with Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) Jib Ellison, and Rick Ridgeway. http://hbr.org/2011/10/the-sustainable-economy/ar/1 It was very inspiring. And this was back in 2011. It is too much information to recap, but basically they have been working on a model to create “true cost accounting” business analytics. It sounds like it has already been put in to play for larger companies in the garment industry. Which has changed the buying habits of these companies who do not really seem to care much about sustainability, but do care about the bottom line. Reality being what it is, if it is not sustainable there are short term gains, but long term it will lead to the end of and industry or worse… To elaborate “true cost accounting” really looks at the entire supply chain and what the actual long term costs of each resource for particular business would be. Taking in to consideration environmentally damaging practices. Sure a resource may be cheap now, but if in 5 or 10 years that particular item is super inflated because of poor farming practices or over consumption vs paying a higher upfront cost for a sustainably managed resource. The “true cost accounting” would put the sustainably managed item at a lower true cost, because in 5-10 years that item will still be around. Short term gains can lead to long term losses. These people are business pioneers and I am very excited to live in the same time as them. It is these practices that will truly change our world for lifetimes to come. And it all starts with you and I. Be aware that this planet is a very complex system that is completely interconnected. We are now finding out exactly how interconnected it is. Watch any plant documentary and you will be amazed at how complex that web of information sharing is. It makes the internet look like childs play. Watch “What Plants Talk About” on Netflix and you will understand what I am referring to. My point being we can no longer just plunder this planet for resources and think that it will just keep giving to us. Eventually we need to work within the system that provides us with life or face the consequences of them no longer supporting our species. Working with the system will prove far more effective. So spend a little time examining your lifestyle, your business, and how you can make more sustainable decisions. Future generations do literally depend on it.
Finally just spend a little time hugging your loved ones. Living sustainably may not be the easiest way to live, but it is necessary for the health of our friends, families, and the whole world. We are all in this one together. Thank you very much for reading 🙂