Moonrise Crystals’ Sustainability History
In November 2019, our owner attended the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference and was inspired by a talk given by the Vice President of Sustainability at Swarovski Crystals. He spoke about their approach to sustainability and then asked the audience how many of our companies had a science-based carbon target. Not one person raised their hand. Our owner immediately wrote that down as a goal for 2020.
Moonrise Crystals has a very small local footprint. There is never a need to heat the office and on most days, simply opening the windows provides the air conditioning. Packages are delivered to the local post office on foot since it’s just around the corner. A little bit of electricity for lights and internet keeps the business running. Air freight and travel are by far the biggest source of emissions.
For 2020, the first sustainability goal was to invest in environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient shipping supplies. Shipping envelopes and boxes were switched to post-recycled materials which can be recycled again by consumers. Biodegradable packing peanuts and bubble-wrap were tracked down on the other side of the island. By the end of the year, a supplier for plant-based and compostable “plastic” bags was found in Pennsylvania. Sometime later, a customer mentioned the environmental impact of tape and soon after a plant-based biodegradable replacement was found.
In 2021, Moonrise Crystals was largely focused on other ethical sourcing goals but looked into carbon offsetting programs for planting trees. None of these projects felt right. In 2022, conversations with a United Nations Climate Ambassador helped illuminate the problem during a discussion about the real challenges of reforestation efforts in northern Africa. It is critically important that forests have the right kind of native species, are biodiverse, and that the local people who will care for the forests are involved at every level. Attempts to help fund native tree planting in Hawaii didn’t go anywhere. One final attempt was made to plant trees when Moonrise Crystals was asked to buy carbon credits to help plant a forest of eucalyptus trees in India. A few minutes of research revealed that eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, and the forest is run by a lumber company that is being actively sued by the state government. Planting trees sounds nice, but Moonrise Crystals decided it was time to explore different opportunities.
Partnering with Native
In the spring of 2023, Moonrise Crystals contacted Native and finally found the right carbon projects. We knew it was a match during our first conversation with them when Native shared that they don’t fund any hydroelectric projects. Those projects are a source of renewable energy and make sense from a financial perspective, but dams have an enormous ecological impact downstream. Looking at the bigger picture is something that Moonrise Crystals and Native both share in common. Most companies start their carbon offsets for the current year or perhaps the previous year. Moonrise Crystals decided to backdate to cover all emissions related to air freight and air travel for 2020-2022 as well as the projected emissions for 2023.
Native has two types of third party validated and verified projects. Some of the projects are already built and need financial support in the form of issued carbon credits. Large projects like wind farms or geothermal facilities have significant infrastructure needs that take years to build and to pay off. By buying carbon credits, companies and individuals help to shoulder those costs. Eventually these projects are able to cover their own costs or can be supported on a national level, i.e.: they no longer need the voluntary carbon market to be viable at scale. Until then, the international community supports them. Native also has HelpBuild projects, which are high-impact projects in their earliest days that need direct funding to get off the ground.
Moonrise Crystals has invested in three projects. Two of them are older projects and the funding for them is based on the carbon emissions from all air freight and air travel related to Moonrise Crystals in 2020-2022. Past projects for past emissions, it makes sense and feels good to us! As for the estimated carbon emissions for the current year of 2023, those carbon credits are funding a new HelpBuild project as we work towards a brighter future. As always, Moonrise Crystals thinks about where our stones come from and have chosen projects accordingly.