A serious topic for those serious about change.

The jewellery industry is often overlooked in sustainability discussions, enabling ongoing environmental and labour abuse and perpetuating a cycle of harm. At Merchants, we're breaking that cycle.

Much of our industry brazenly masquerades as eco-conscious, lazily slapping a ‘sustainable’ label on certain products while relentlessly cause detriment to both people and the planet. The fashion landscape as it stands is a disservice to consumers like you or me, and we won’t have a bar of it.

Merchants differs from the bevy of alternatives as it isn’t afraid of change for the better. The products we offer belong to our planet, never forgotten by the environment from which we take from. It would be ethically remiss of us to ignore the damage caused by fast fashion and other brands we sit adjacent from.

Genuine sustainable efforts by independent brands are lost amidst a sea of greenwashing, ignorance, and deception. We’ve been nurtured to believe excessive consumption is normal. With the technological means to produce without limitation is at our fingertips, fast fashion thrives. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should, especially if that comes at the expense of creative expression and thoughtful, exciting patterns of fashion.

A damaging mistake we see happen time and time again is businesses facing inward, focused solely on their internal operations and completely neglecting the outward impacts of unethical practice. We simply can't afford to put blinders on and disregard our environment in this way - to do so harms our workers, community, customers, and environment.

Discussing how the majority of our industry conducts business is not an exercise in deflection, rather a demonstration of where we’re at and what we’re working with.

As a label within that contemporary industry, our work often comes back to a series of WHY and HOW.

WHY are we creating jewellery in the first place?
HOW can we balance creative pursuits with ethics?
WHY would we ever blindly encourage sales at the compromise of our own needs?
HOW can we slow down our processes to create as little environmental impact as possible?
WHY is our industry more concerned with competition than conscience?
HOW can we build and educate our community about ethical principles and sustainable habits?

Our ethical objectives extend beyond our own operations as we call upon our industry to slow right down. We are committed to setting the standard for our peers in terms of meaningful production and pushing audiences to consciously consume. A business can be an activist, and we stand by that wholeheartedly.

We understand that the most sustainable thing we could do is stop production, removing ourselves from the consumption cycle and calling it a day. We understand the paradoxical nature of an eco-conscious brand. However, there is significant benefit to leading the rest of the industry into a new dawn of slow, carbon-neutral, careful fashion business. Fashion can exist, but so can the health of our planet.

Sustainable or eco-conscious business entails responsible decision-making regarding materials, people, business components, and storytelling - none of which can be cheated for profit. Business gain is a last priority for us, as earth-friendly operations form the entire basis of Merchants.

We are currently in the process of developing our first sustainability report to increase our transparency and build a system which holds us accountable to the wellbeing of the planet. Watch this space as we finalise certifications and impact statements to cement our consideration for our surroundings. Join us as we teach and learn in equal measure, with the goal of leaving things better than we found them.

At Merchants we make adornments for special occasions, uniform pieces for every day, and everything in between. Each and every piece is created under the notion ‘Make few, design well’ - an ethos we refuse to stray from for the sake of our people and our planet.

We will be continuing this series of sustainability explainers - stay tuned and always feel free to reach out with any questions about how Merchants fits within the broader landscape.

We know that the significance of mere words pales in comparison to tangible action. Watch our socials and Journal to keep up with our journey through regular initiatives, campaigns, and protests against those who aren’t doing enough.

In the spirit of World Environment Day on 5 June, make your voice heard:
Support the Climate Class Action, the first of its kind to be brought by First Nations leaders. The concerning trajectory of climate change risks Torres Strait Islanders becoming climate refugees, as communities plead for immediate action.
Sign the petition for legislated climate protection and advocacy in Australia.
Donate to preserve the waterways of Indonesia, the home of our production team and the birthplace of Merchants of the Sun.
Donate to promote the survival and prosperity of the Australian environment, from outback to coast.