Editor-in-Chief Barbara Koh finds out as she gets special entry to the jewellery brand’s ultragreen crafting facility
Getting an up-close view of jewellery production (above).
It may come as a surprise, but it is intricately made in Thailand. When you discover how refined Thai craftsmanship is, you’ll understand why it was a natural choice for Pandora. The original founders, Danish goldsmith Per Enevoldsen and his thenwife Winnie, loved the detailed handwork of Thai craftsmen and started importing jewellery for their European customers in the ’80s. And with increasing demand, they decided to establish a manufacturing site in Bangkok so they could have a reliable supply of well-priced, hand-finished jewellery. And while the Bangkok facility remains, the company has set up another in Lamphun, North Thailand. Between the two crafting facilities, more than 13,000 pieces of jewellery are produced every hour, every day, by over 13,000 craftspeople.
Impressive numbers, but what is even more impressive are the Danish company’s ethical standards. And despite being over 8,000 km from the Copenhagen headquarters, the same high standards have been exacted on the setups in the East.
We love Pandora’s wear and re-wear, mix-match capabilities. We love how each charm can hold so much meaning and symbolise special occasions – an anniversary, an engagement, a birthday, One can never tire with the endless possibilities of their charms, shutting down any throwaway fashion attitudes. That’s perfectly in keeping with the way the jewellery is being produced. Pandora’s Corporate Sustainability Manager Trine Pondal shares, “If you want to be environmentally friendly, gold or silver is the way to go. Pandora believes in ethical mining, and we also recycle 97 per cent of our silver and 74 per cent of gold.”
Realising that increasing jewellery categories requires intensive resources, Pandora has invested heavily in making its crafting facility green, despite having to pay 30 to 40 per cent more. The Lamphun facility gained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in 2017, and attained a Gold at that. This means the facility has been built in compliance with LEED’s green building principles to minimise environmental impact as well as consumption of natural resources and non-renewable energy.
So it’ll come as no surprise that recycling plays a big part in the Pandora planet, with 80 per cent of total waste being recycled at the crafting facilities. Besides the recycling of silver and gold, 100 per cent of gypsum, rubber, and wax wastes are reused.
People are also very much part of the Pandora planet. The company strives to provide proper working conditions for its staff. The willing relocation of more than 2,000 employees from the Bangkok to the Lamphun facility when it first opened bears testament. When I was there, I could see the special care taken to maintain employee welfare. Programmes were offered beyond work skills to include safety, health, and leadership courses.
What stood out for me was the way pregnant women are treated. Trine says, “Pandora has a holistic view of caring for employees. So, for example, when a woman is pregnant, she gets extra breaks, health checks and prenatal classes, and also gets three months’ maternity leave (the Thai norm is oneand- a-half months).”
She adds, “Our founder Per always had an idea of good working conditions, it’s something the company has always believed in. Pandora is an ethical brand with a big heart.” I have to agree.
DID YOU KNOW. . .
At Pandora, 97 per cent of silver and 74 per cent of gold are recycled, which is in line with its brand values. Pandora’s Corporate Sustainability Manager Trine Pondal says, “Sustainability is at the heart of the company, always has been, always will be.”
1. Jewellery is from 100 per cent certified silver and gold suppliers. 2. 30 pairs of 2.6 billion man-made stones. hands on average contribute to creating one piece of jewellery.
Pandora jewellery has over 2.6 billion man-made stones.
The enamel work on each Pandora piece is carefully done by hand.
TAKING THE LEAD
Indeed, Pandora has taken the lead, having built its Lamphun crafting facility according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and in attaining Gold, it is clear the company has gone all out to fulfill its duty for the planet. Here are just some of the features of the 75,000 sq m facility in Lamphun, North Thailand:
• It has a highly efficient water recycling system. Lars Nielsen, VP and General Manager of Production, says, “All waste water is treated in the wastewater plant to use as irrigation for the plants. The lake collects rainwater that’s used to irrigate the green areas and toilets, and this saves 45 per cent of water consumption compared to traditional buildings.”
• Special construction keeps areas cool naturally. Lars explains, “All the buildings are wellplanned, and are rounded, with no sharp corners. The idea is that they generate natural air flow in the centre of the compound so it stays nice and cool at any time. The Halo roof system creates shelter for walking around in rain, in hot or wet season, encircling the common areas.”
• The Lamphun facility has 8,500 sq m of solar panels, generating about 18 per cent of electricity for the facility.