What does it mean to be an 'eco' brand this Earth Day ?

Jill Urwin
Jill Urwin wearing her fave slow fashion brand LF Markey from Word Store, Walthamstow. Photo Leonie Freemam. 

Last week I was on a zoom call with some friends in the sustainability space, both new and old faces. The struggle is REAL for any businesses, entrepreneurs or designers who really want to make a difference in the world. The kind of difference that will transform industries, transform lives, and clean up the planet. It can feel exhausting, lonely and, at times, unrewarding.

We are forever seeing brands touting themselves as ‘conscious’, ‘ethical’, 'eco', and ‘sustainable’. But do these labels hold weight beyond mere marketing jargon? For us, these terms have become diluted, lost in a sea of industry greenwashing, perhaps unintentionally so. This shouldn't be about ego or image. We need to be honest and real, only then can we begin to impact change. This has always been our approach. For instance, if we discover a mining community is struggling to meet certain standards, we work with them to achieve these standards. This is how we can all learn and make significant shifts. You can see some of the cases where we've done this over on our sister social enterprise Crystal Clear.

"Can you truly be sustainable if you're using non-renewable sources?"

Think about it: you’re an ‘ethical’ crystal store that proudly sells tumble stones but you can’t validate the exact provenance and journey of these stones, from the mines and conditions, to the tumbling location, processes and chemicals. In the out-dated industry it's likely that your only option is to take your wholesaler's 'word for it'. Or, maybe you’re a ‘sustainable’ jewellery brand, but by the very nature of jewellery and precious and semi-precious metals, can you truly be sustainable if you are using these non-renewable resources? Yes, your efforts and intentions may be good, but are you measuring and analysing your impact? Do you know for sure that your output is an effective balance of social, environmental and financial impact. We’ve all got to keep challenging ourselves and asking these questions.


The reality is: we are not a sustainable species. Everything is mined from the earth. From the steel used in the houses we live in, to the paving stones we walk on. We can’t get away from that fact. Equally, such mining activities actually provide livelihoods for millions of us. From the mine and production, to consumerism. We ‘rely’ heavily on these resources so we need to act responsibly if we want to protect the planet for future generations. 

President and CEO of the International Council on Mining and Metals, Rohitesh Dhawan, has raised concerns about the need for a significant increase in global mining if we are to get anywhere near the Paris 2030 Agreement, so we need to be working collectively across industries to meet the increased demand that the sustainability sector alone is creating.

This month is Earth Month, last month was B Corp Month, and today is Earth Day. While it’s important to have these promotional days and months to raise awareness, the work is continuous to us, and needs to be if we want to sustain our level of output. Here at SLC, not only do we strive to make a positive impact, but we meticulously measure that impact and balance it across our bottom line with the Glasshouse Model we developed back in 2018, which is our means of measuring the triple-bottom-line of our business (if you'd like to learn more about this then please email us@sheslostcontrol.co.uk).

And you know what, we’re so busy doing the work that we don’t actually get round to properly communicating our efforts. So this is our commitment to show up, share and inspire other small businesses and entrepreneurs to do the same. We thought we’d highlight some of our recent environmental efforts as part of our continuous commitment to the planet and people. Our social and financial impacts layer on top of of this, but for today, Mother Earth is in the spotlight...

SLC's training day for women in mining in Malawi.


The SLC Single Location Rule

We strive to ensure that our crystals and gemstones are cut or polished in the country they are mined. This not only ensures a lower carbon footprint, but it also adds value at source to the communities we work with. For instance, you won’t find any Brazilian-mined minerals processed in China or India form us.

Packaging Overhaul 

We’re always working on improving our packaging to ensure we’re as environmentally friendly as possible, but over the past 12 months we’ve drilled right down on the scope 1, 2 and 3 when it comes to the impact of our packaging. This has meant scrutinising everything from the ink we use, to the carbon footprint and energy usage of all our packaging. So for instance, considering the energy used in making our recycled paper bags versus the benefit of switching to compostable potato starch bags. It’s all in the details for us. 

Carbon Emissions

Scope 1 carbon emissions evaluation at both properties has involved us working on energy saving evaluations – from water and pipe-work evaluations to the reduction of non-renewable energy sources such as the use of gas. 

Environmental Training

We believe that education is key to impacting change, so we ensure that we infiltrate environmental training at every level, and in all areas of the business. From environmental mentorship for myself as founder and training for the team, to training artisanal mining communities on the importance of environmental impact, ensuring that practices are responsibly supported. It’s crucial to teach the importance of caring for the land, regenerative agriculture and replantation and organic harvesting.

Sustainable Development Venture, Bahia 

Working behind the scenes on a new sustainable development venture in Bahia, Brazil with global partners and pioneers.

The SLC Promise

Clarity is one of our core values here at SLC, so we ensure that we dig deep into the ethics, purpose and impact of all the brands we stock in store. We promise to only stock likeminded businesses on a mission to transform the planet.

Precious Metal Efforts

Did you know that the second biggest threat to the planet after agriculture is gold mining? While we recognise that recycled gold and silver isn’t necessarily the answer to a sustainable future (this is a BIG conversation for another day), we are continuously working on new ways to improve the transparency of our jewellery supply chains. From planning the re-use of silver ‘waste’ from NHS X-rays, to exploring how we can work alongside other jewellers to grow the popularity of fair-mined gold.

Electric Vehicles

Increasing the use of electric vehicles for transport, travel and deliveries, including customer deliveries.

Mine to Market Stones

We work hard to ensure that we know exactly where our stones are from, right down to the mine. The fewer stakeholders involved in the supply chain, the more insight we have when it comes to environmental and social practices. Closer relationships to the source enables us to work on due diligence in line with the Alliance for Responsible Mining. 

Replantation We work with Ecuadorian partners to ensure that the palo santo tree is replanted and cared for, while supporting the indigenous communities with raising awareness around the hyped 'fake-news' circulating which is a threat to their land and livelihoods. We are also actively reviewing similar projects with other Amazonian communities who are striving for empowerment and control of their land. 


As we continue on our journey, we invite you to join us in redefining what it means to be an ethical brand. Together, let's strive for transparency, accountability, and meaningful change. After all, the future of our planet depends on it.

Here are some of our favourite products that are making a positive environmental impact...