I got engaged a little while ago, and people are constantly commenting on my very unique ring. My Fiancé picked out a gorgeous, unique ring from Brilliant Earth, and I love having the opportunity to gush to my friends that the metal is all recycled platinum, and that the diamonds are all ethically sourced. Yet I’ve been shocked with how many people give me an absolute blank stare when I say the words “ethically sourced”. You would think I was trying to describe a complex medical procedure. On the plus side, it allows me to educate those around me to what exactly it means to be “ethically sourced”.
Ethically sourced is exactly what it sounds like. It is a broad term that refers to an item or product was brought to you from a source that used ethical practices from start to finish. This may mean that it was paid for at a fair price, or that the source considers the environment and the country or location of origin. Also referred to as fair trade, or with diamonds they are referred to as conflict-free. Conflict free further means that the gem was not mined and sold to pay for an insurgent campaign or to finance a warlord in Africa. Ethically sourced items are free from human rights abuses, or child labor, and did not cause any harm to the environment.
Ethically sourced materials don’t just have to be diamonds either. It’s important to remember that almost every product we purchase can be from an unethical source, whether it’s food, clothing, or even gasoline. With the recent BP spill, purchasing BP gas, or from any company that uses BP as a distributor, we, like many, may choose not to purchase gas from them. This is because we care where the source was, and how our purchase affects us ad the world around us.
There are many companies that tout things like eco-friendly and ethically sourced, but it’s important to actually think things out for ourselves, and to do the research. Labels can be very deceptive in this day and age. It’s really difficult at times to navigate through the slick advertising and flashy labels to find out what’s really going on with products. Everything from ingredients, to sourcing has a spin on it, and it’s our job as a responsible consumer to read things carefully and make wise choices.