Ethically Sustainable Jewelry 2023 Transparency Report
This report has been birthed from ongoing conversations within the supporting ecosystem of our brand. Our intention with this report is to share with our customers & community what we stand for and give updates on our continuous efforts and commitment to question our processes in place around the creation of our ethically sustainable jewelry.
Over the last few years ‘sustainability’ has become a trendy buzzword that has gone from once being a niche term to becoming a driving force in the overall business world and most organizations today.
‘Sustainability’ in today’s world
From the perspective of a consumer, we very often can’t know how sustainable and ethical a jewelry business really is. The trending word ‘sustainability’ and the often associated ‘bandwagon effect’ of mainstream brands who bring in the desire to convey impressions of having changed their practices for the benefit of our planet (but don’t hold up their promises in the long run) has sadly watered-down the intention and impact actual sustainable jewelry brands strive to have in today’s world.
Simultaneously the public demand and growing external expectations for transparency around environmental, social, and governance performance, including a jewelry company’s contributions to local economies has increased with the improved availability of information for the consumer related to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Since the beginning of Ananda Soul, it has been one of our core values to create, develop and produce our spiritual jewelry designs in the most sustainable and ethical way available to us at any point in time, in coherence and integrity with our values and our truth.
‘How to be in integrity with our values, in every decision, every interaction, every moment, in every aspect of business and my life?’
has remained a guiding principle and question in place, in all of our actions and choices.
The relevance & necessity of a transparency & integrity report
An ongoing dialogue within the teams of Ananda Soul continues to raise questions not only around how we can improve our business practices on a regular basis but also to which extent we as a brand can distinguish ourselves from the ones that present insubstantial claims around being environmentally and socially friendly, watering down the efforts of many sustainable brands doing their best to create transparency and improvements in this world. It matters deeply that we show up with all that we stand for.
The answer is transparency.
Now more than ever transparency, clarity, and proof of integrity are critical components to consider in our daily practices. Transparency births accountability. Accountability is what drives change and compassion.
It is important to us to mention that we see transparency as a part of our human-ness, our human qualities, and not as a concept of the corporate world.
Our intention behind this ethically sustainable jewelry report
Ananda Soul stands for mindful intention, sustainability, and responsible consumerism. We believe that transparency is not only an important step but imperative to create long-term, substantial systemic change in this world as well as in the world of business making.
Transparency provides information for our consumers to educate themselves and offers a platform to hold ourselves accountable in the public eye as we observe the rooms and spaces of improvement that open up through environmentally friendly practices and technologies that are being revised and further developed over time. With this, we strive to reflect a new generation of social entrepreneurs, driven by a mission to redefine the concept of lifestyle, while balancing both people, the planet’s resources, and purpose.
We want to encourage consumers to question their consumption and the impact their day-to-day choices have on each other and the planet.
We want to create rings, necklaces, malas, and jewelry that bring about blessings, love stories and good intentions and spread them throughout the world and by doing so pursue a path of sustainable production and creation that is the least harmful to Mother Earth.
We want to create a community that uplifts each other and that connects over the same values and principles.
Why it is important to retire from the need of being perfect
A transparency report is about being honest and open, not about showing-off immaculate business processes. We aim to provide our customers with the ability to make their own decisions regarding the products they consider purchasing and the world of Ananda Soul they choose to immerse themselves into.
Our intention is to not make it a complicated task, but one that creates progress and is a foundation for future reports to come. If we were to strive for perfection and completeness, in a world that is constantly changing, we could only fail.
We are founded on our core values. The jewelry industry is not a perfect business. Our promise is to always do our best when it comes to meeting our values with integrity.
Our Core Values
Our core values are our guiding principles and create the foundation of Ananda Soul:
- Ethically produced jewelry with fair wages and kind working conditions
- Low environmental impact through recycled silver and sustainable practices
- A profit system founded on giving back to our local community
- Respect for culture and land
- Jewelry blessed in Bali and encoded with love and peace
- Transparency & authenticity
To read more about our core values, visit our ethics page.
That being said, at the center of our core values and business always stands the basis of HUMAN-NESS. A business from humans for humans speaks the truth, the language of our hearts. It is the world of Ananda that circles around the humans we work with, the ones we intend to support, and the versions that we are ourselves.
Our jewelry after all is a beautiful manifestation of all that is our deepest heart and intention. This is where the intention and energy we want to ripple out into the world, resides.
“Our vision at Ananda Soul is a thriving humanity, a healthy planet, and a deep calling to act from integrity in favor of a better tomorrow.”
Our Areas of Focus
We are an inclusive, sustainable, ethical jewelry label that stands for positive impact, sustainable change, and heart-led business practices.
To be a sustainable brand doesn’t only mean to integrate the idea of sustainability into its purpose, but also all the way through – all the way into the products.
Thriving humanity, a healthy planet, and a deep calling to act from integrity in favor of a better tomorrow stand at the core of our business. We are in business to improve lives and to reflect mindful intention, well-researched information, and consumerism.
Leading a sustainable brand means defining a purpose that takes action to make the world a better place in a way that's relevant to the brand, good for the planet and our communities, and meaningful to the people who choose their products.
Ananda Soul wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of a group of incredible women from all over Indonesia. Ananda Soul grew from an initial team of 2 people in 2008 to 24 team members in 2023. Today, this team creates and nurtures the bond of a family. To cultivate a sense of family at work has always been one of our biggest aspirations ever since the start of Ananda Soul. The women in our jewelry business show up for their families, their loved ones, and themselves, for each other and – because of the greater field and intention that connects us – for our work and our brand.
It has been our philosophy from the very start to keep creating the roles that suit their skills and contributions to Ananda the most. We pursue an ethos of no-burn out, we care and we take care of one another.
We are committed to providing nourishing and inspiring physical working conditions and hours that honor the needs of each individual woman and their family. Alongside the usual benefits of health insurance, bonuses, and adequate vacation time, we offer our employees additional benefits such as monthly massages, yoga, and meditation classes.
We constantly adapt and adjust our teams and processes according to the needs of each individual.
Being aware of the imprint we leave in the world is one of our biggest focuses. We constantly investigate the most ethical jewelry materials, causing the least harm possible to our beloved planet. We look into each component of the development and creation of our designs and trace its origin as far back as possible and as is available to us.
The core of our jewelry pieces is made from high-quality, certified recycled 925 sterling silver and is sourced from a German company that refines its metals using environmentally-minded and safe practices.
We only use precious metals that are already circulating on the planet (which means no additional mining is needed) and avoid adding any additional toxicity to our world.
Metal mining generally comes at a high cost for our planet and humanity – causing erosion, the contamination of groundwater and soil through the use of chemicals as a part of the mining process, the loss of biodiversity, landscape damage and human rights abuse, and child labor on the social side.
While we can’t take away the fact that silver is taken from the ground in the first place, we can ensure on our end that the silver used in our products is coming from sources that recycle what is already circulating through our planet. Silver is sustainable in a sense that it is never thrown away, hence it can be reused over and over again without compromising its quality over time.
The 925 in sterling silver means that it’s a combination of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloys to strengthen the metal. The alloy we use is copper sourced from Germany and is 100% nickel-free.
The casting of our recycled pendants is made from certified 100% recycled silver that is considered conflict-free.
The term ‘conflict-free’ means that we avoid the import of raw materials from countries that are characterized by a geopolitical crisis or by a total neglect of human rights at all times.
Our jewelry castings are locally made in Denpasar in one of two of our Bali-based production houses.
Until recently the chains and clasps of our jewelry have been made from non-recycled silver. After years of searching for suppliers who offer chains and clasps made from recycled silver, we have finally succeeded in our efforts: As of 2022 after numerous requests, our chain supplier has agreed to change their production structures and make us their first customer to receive recycled goods.
Starting this year, the company has put processes into place that allow for company-in-house recycling of silver scraps which can be turned into jewelry chains and clasps, hence our products are now 100% made from recycled silver.
At the moment all our gold-plated jewelry is plated with 22kt Gold. Gold-plating liquids are unfortunately not yet available from recycled Gold but we are constantly on the lookout for when this becomes an option.
Gold Vermeil is not solid gold and should be treated with care to preserve its quality.
The most sustainable material for jewelry is solid gold, provided it is coming from conflict-free mines and sources. Solid gold stands the test of time, does not lose its quality, and serves as an investment for customers that can be passed onto future generations.
To create a pure solid gold collection is one of our dreams at Ananda Soul and on our agenda for the next few years. However, to move forward, we are currently looking for additional financial backing through investment opportunities. If this project resonates and for further information, please get in touch with us here
For our creations that carry gemstones, we guarantee to work with 100% natural stones in our necklaces, rings, jewelry, and malas which are all a product of our wonderful Mother Earth.
The majority of our smaller gemstones are sourced from an Italian supplier, who only purchases rough materials from certified small companies and family businesses, guaranteeing good working conditions with the minimal environmental impact on the land and the neighboring communities.
The remainder of our gemstones (mostly our beads and larger stones) come from an Indian family business with who we have worked for over a decade and we constantly pay attention to all the steps of the production process.
Every year we check in with our suppliers and cutters to track and investigate where they source their materials along with their procedures and work ethics, guaranteeing the standard of European working hours and conditions. Although there is no international certification scheme for crystal mining- as there is for diamonds - we do our absolute best to build and maintain strong, long-standing relationships with reliable sources.
Most of the stones in our jewelry collection originate from Brazil, India, Tibet, Australia, and various countries on the African continent such as Tanzania and Madagascar. Through this we avoid importing raw materials from countries characterized by geopolitical crises or by neglect of human rights.
As of 2022 we have aligned our processes to now happily announce that we work with solely recycled packaging materials such as paper and card boxes, and are 100% plastic-free – from sourcing, production all the way to hand-over, delivery, and shipping.
We are in business to improve lives. We believe that a better tomorrow is one where community thrives. From day one we have been committed to creating a jewelry brand that gives back and supports the women and children in the communities where we produce and create our products.
For the past decade, we have been working with local women, mostly mothers, who used to make a living begging in the streets of Denpasar. By employing these mothers we help interrupt the cycle of poverty. The love and support from these mothers are mirrored in our braided bracelets and beaded malas all of which were assembled by these beautiful women.
Over the years we have supported a variety of initiatives that support the local land and community, in particular women and children. Our projects over the last 11 years have ranged from supporting educational programs, employing mothers to funding local initiatives that tackle different social and environmental issues in today’s world.
Bali Children Foundation
At the moment we donate 10% of all jewelry sale proceeds to the Bali Children Foundation to help bring education to impoverished regions of Bali. We are currently sponsoring 11 children for a chance for a better future and will be supporting 3 more later this year.
In 2021 we introduced non-profit pieces which means that 100% of the profits of these pieces are directed to specific projects that we support.
100% of the profits from our Friendship bracelet which we launched in September 2021 are flowing towards the Bali Children Foundation.
Our in 2022 and 2023 launched 'Luna Crescent' and 'You are loved' bracelet support Balinese street moms through the Bali Street Mums project.
Support in unprecedented times
In March 2020 we launched our 'Adopt a Family' project as an answer to the increasing hardships the Balinese community faced due to the global impact of COVID-19. Bali, an island whose economy largely depends on tourism, remained empty throughout 2020 and 2021 with local businesses incrementally closing down and people losing their main sources of income to help feed their families. In order to alleviate the situation, we started collecting donations to take care of the well-being of families from different regions here in Bali.
For the past almost two years, our team has remained in close contact with the local communities around what they need the most. ‘Adopt a family’ has been evolving based on the needs of each of the communities we support.
Thankfully, Bali is looking to open to tourism again in the coming weeks and we are able to complete this project.
In October 2021 our home Bali got hit by a strong earthquake with its epicenter located around the areas in the Northwest of Bali which had already been suffering immensely since the eruptions of Mount Agung in 2017 and the pandemic since early 2020.
This earthquake destroyed over 377 family homes leaving many families left with nothing.
For November 2021 we allocated the profits received through our Friendship bracelets towards building an Earthquake Relief Program to supply these families with basic human supplies such as mattresses, hygienic products, jerrycans, water tanks, cooking equipment, plates, bowls, cutlery, toothpaste, toothbrushes, flannels, wet-wipes. Our local team has personally delivered the supplies to the families in Northwest Bali.
We continue to contribute to areas of the crisis on the island of Bali whenever needed and requests reach us.
Bali production work standards
We are working with two Bali-based jewelry production houses, one based in Denpasar and one in the artisan and silver village named Celuk. Both jewelry production sites are as committed to ethical work practices as we are. We ensure and follow up that they comply with fair trade work conditions, offering fair work hours, paid leave, medical and life insurance, and even accommodation for non-local team members along with a daycare for working mothers.
A little family compound in the village of Celuk is where the embellishment and the assembly of our products happen. At every stage of our jewelry production, we ensure fair working conditions.
Jewelry artisans are an important part of the traditional communities in Bali. A place where one can find a particular group of artisans is in Celuk Village where silversmiths have been practicing their crafts for decades.
Arts and crafts are a significant part of the Balinese culture, and one can find a community of highly skilled silversmiths. Jewelers here use traditional methods to produce their unique style of silverwork. It doesn't happen very often that these skills are explicitly performed by women, which is why we are even more thrilled by the talent of the women working in the Ananda Soul production.
We periodically visit our partner facilities to make sure that the organization of our production sites is maintained.
Bali fulfillment, VAT and customs
All of our pieces are wrapped, handled with love and care, and shipped directly from Bali, Indonesia.
In the past two years, we have considered introducing fulfillment centers in different countries to support our customers in the process of facing additional charges and import duties.
We have, however, deliberately chosen to keep our fulfillment in Bali to save and maintain the jobs of our employees as the world had to face the effects of COVID-19. With the pandemic Bali has struggled severely economically, hence we decided as a part of our contribution to our local community to preserve what we can locally to alleviate the situation for everyone over here.
We have now instead introduced an additional step in our fulfillment process to send estimations to our customers regarding the additional costs, such as VAT or import duties to be of support as best as possible.
As Customs policies vary widely from country to country we further encourage our customers to contact their local customs office for further information.
In house recycling & general practices
At every stage of our processes, we are dedicated to preserving and causing the least harm to our planet. We have initiated recycling processes in-house that enable us to improve both our production processes as well as materials for packaging in favor of Mother Earth.
We further commit to educating our teams as well as suppliers to create mindfulness around sustainable jewelry practices and how to question habitual behavior.
Blessings from Bali
As a last and important step of our production cycle, all our jewelry is blessed in a Balinese ceremony before being sent out into the world.
We as a team come together once a month with the guidance of a Balinese priest to gather affirmations, prayers, good intentions, and energy to breathe life and blessings into our designs. Our prayer is that our jewelry uplift and brings joy to every person who gets in touch with it.
Our wish & intention for 2023
Leading a company with humans has its hiccups as much as it has its beauty. It asks for radical compassion, mutual respect, and understanding. Every single day we do our best to find the balance between being Ananda Soul and letting our intention weave into a common goal while at the same time seeing every one of our employees in their personal needs.
Our company has become a safe space, a container for our employees, suppliers and customers to be held and supported in their human-ness. It is less about the personal stories that may individually guide the way, but the greater and commonly shared desire for being seen, heard, and to connect more deeply with one another. To be encouraged, to receive permission to do all the things our own limiting beliefs, personal habits or society tells us not to do.
After the global events of the past two years, there is no way to a ‘normal’ that we once knew. One of the main questions we sit with this year is
What are the needs of today’s world in light of everything that has been happening and how does this reflect onto our company culture
This year is all about Family & Nourishment
The concept of NOURISHMENT has been a big theme in Christina’s personal story. How can we come to think of ways of nourishment in every little moment and detail of our personal and work life? What in our lives truly nourishes us versus what we might think nourishes us? Is it ok to take a step back for a moment to find our breath, our calm, the right amount of sleep, a hug, a touch? Is it ok to say No?
It is imperative that we do so. And this is something we are continuously learning. Allowing ourselves to nourish ourselves better and in more intricate ways is our answer to burn-out, emotional reactivity, and a run-down immune system.
Saying No is imperative, saying No means to care instead of to carry.
FAMILY. Soul family, chosen family, immediate family – anything that creates depth in life and that gives and receives uninterruptedly and unconditionally. It is in trying times where soul family forms a form of replacement, where we all move closer together creating the container that is needed for us to move, to suffer, but also to heal and to thrive. Family is what we find in our team, every single day.
May we all stand for a more transparent and more caring world!