Top jewellery maker to only use recycled gold, silver

Silver and gold account for about three-quarters of Pandora’s metal use, with the rest — copper, palladium, steel — not covered by the recycling target. (Image courtesy of Pandora Group.)

Danish jewellery maker Pandora said on Tuesday it would stop using mined gold and silver in its pieces starting in 2025, a sustainability initiative first in an industry that consumes a large portion of the globe’s total precious metals output.

The Copenhagen-based company, the world’s largest jewellery maker by volume, said its shift to recycled supplies would cut carbon emissions by at least 66% for silver and more than 99% for gold.

Pandora, best known for its charms, said that only about 15% of the world’s silver supply comes from recycled metal, even though reusing the metals generates a third of the carbon emissions produced by silver mining. The company said that recycled gold, in turn, has emissions 600 times lower than mined gold.

Currently, 71% of the silver and gold in Pandora’s jewellery comes from recycled sources. 

Impact on sales

Chief executive officer Alexander Lacik said the new approach won’t diminish the quality of the jewellery produced.

“Metals mined centuries ago are just as good as new,” Lacik said in the statement. Meanwhile, “the need for sustainable business practices is only becoming more important,” he said.

71% of the silver and gold in Pandora’s jewellery comes from recycled sources 

Pandora did acknowledge it may have to educate customers about the lack of difference between mined and recycled precious metals.

Another key benefit of Pandora’s shift, the company said, is that there would be a significant reduction in water use as a result of less mining.

The announcement is part of the company’s master plan of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. This includes emissions from Pandora’s crafting facilities, owned and operated stores, distribution sites and offices.

Annual emissions from the global gold market are equivalent to roughly 126 million tonnes of CO2. More than a third of that comes directly from mining and smelting, data from the World Gold Council shows.