Ethical jewellery that doesn’t cost the earth

Rosie Baker is Marketing Week’s specialist on sustainability and retail – and the two topics often go hand-in-hand. Her blog focuses on all things to do with sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility and ethical business.

There are two types of people, those that are, or are not swayed by the promise of ethical credentials. The trade off for many is how much extra does it cost, and what is the quality of the product.

I’m a fan of quirky designs made from clever reusing of objects, what turns me off is the extortionate price tag usually attached to a necklace or photoframe that’s essentially been crafted out of stuff no-one wants.

In becoming an ethically sourced piece of jewellery crafted from reclaimed materials, these unwanted bottle tops, sweet wrappers and coke cans transform into items that costs well beyond what they are actually worth.

For all but the most hardened ethical shoppers, it can be hard to reconcile the price tag, even if you factor in the added ‘goodness’ benefit of ethically sourced materials and the handmade artisan manufacturing.

Tesco has launched “This is Africa” a range of gorgeous ethical jewellery, created by Made, a brand that encourages ethical trading in Africa, at accessible prices.

Pieces will be made from reclaimed “upcycled” brass and glass from recycled drinking bottles. Depending on your take on recycling and reusing, this will either appeal or not. And so will the thought of Tesco as a haven for ethical fashion.

But by making an ethical jewellery range available at the biggest retailer in the UK, at prices starting at £4 Tesco is doing its bit to promote trade in Africa and set a precedent that it doesn’t have to more expensive to be ethical in fashion.

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