Pandora switches to 100% recycled silver and gold sooner than expected

Pandora switches to 100% recycled silver and gold sooner than expected

One of the largest multinational firms in the jewellery sector, Pandora, has ended the use of virgin gold and silver in its jewellery a year ahead of its prior commitment. They were due to make the switch at the beginning of 2025 but have done so early, which will reduce their annual carbon footprint by 58,000 tonnes. 

They achieved the 100% mark with gold first in early 2023 and now in 2024 with silver. The reason they were able to meet the goal on gold sooner was that gold accounts for less than 1 percent of Pandora’s entire material sourcing. For comparison, the brand sourced around 600 times as much silver in 2022 as it did gold.

The implementation of the RIC-COC standard

While they still have some existing inventory made from non-recycled metals, the brand believes this will be sold through the second half of this year. All new Pandora products will now only include gold and silver that have been certified as recycled as per the Responsible Jewellery Council Chain of Custody (RIC-COC) standard

According to this requirement, an impenetrable audit trail must demonstrate that virgin and recycled materials are kept apart throughout the whole value chain, from sorting and melting to production. The brand has said the implementation of the RIC-COC standard has marked a significant change for many suppliers

This is not just concerning reporting and disclosures but also with necessary additional investments in changes to processing and equipment to ensure recycled metals are properly separated. The use of 100 percent gold and silver will cost Pandora roughly $10 million annually compared to using virgin metals. However, the brand has said it will absorb the cost instead of passing it on to consumers. 

What will be the impact of the switch to recycled metals?

Pandora is predicting a 58,000-tonne reduction in their annual carbon footprint as a result of these changes. According to the brand, recycled silver emits 66 percent fewer life-cycle emissions than virgin, and for gold, the decrease can reach 99 percent. This shift to recycled materials for Pandora has also run in tandem with changes concerning diamond sourcing. 

They launched their first product range using only lab-grown diamonds in 2022, which reduced the carbon footprint of each diamond by up to 95 percent. Utilising labs rather than mines also enables businesses such as Pandora to prevent some of the human rights issues surrounding traditional diamond supply chains.

The way forward for Pandora

It is encouraging to witness a company of such great scale not only embracing sustainability but implementing its initiatives sooner than initially planned. Moreover, the switch to recycled silver and gold is not the only environmental action Pandora is taking. The brand has also set a 2040 net-zero target and has begun to incorporate more circular practices to accelerate decarbonisation goals.

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