Shifting to more ethical and intelligent ways of working is the zeitgeist of fashion in 2019. Slowly but surely, more brands are placing an emphasis on environmental consciousness – and, as ardent supporters of sustainable efforts, we’re celebrating the brands doing just that. Each week, we’ll be meeting the designers fashioning beautiful goods with the greater good in mind.

Working organically with nature, and not against it, has been the mantra central to jewellery designer Cornelia Webb’s ethos since the brand's 2005 inception. Key pieces are quite literally sculptural extensions of the body, with the brand’s classic motif a fingerprint to evoke a humanistic element.

However, it wasn’t until having her first child two years ago that Cornelia decided to take the “proper turn” to ensuring every aspect of the business left her with a good conscious. “Having my son was a big turning point,” she says. “I really thought 'how do I be part of the industry, while still knowing that I’m doing something for myself, the environment and for him'?”

For Cornelia, this meant looking beyond the metals she uses (80% of brass is recycled) to how she runs the business – from how much she pushes herself in development to the way she engages with her staff and the factories. “It’s supposed to be fun and breed energy as opposed to taking energy,” she adds.

Working primarily out of Bali (“I’d say 70% of production is in Bali, 20% in Italy and 5% in Mexico,” explains Cornelia), a zero-waste approach is the big push for the brand. To realise this ambition, the Cornelia Webb team focus on making small tweaks with the greatest of impacts. Finding faults in the early stages of production, before they are plated, and repurposing leftover materials like stone are among the tricks up their sleeves. “It’s just about changing those little steps,” she says.

With so much of Cornelia's work rooted in Bali, the island has etched a special place in her heart. The brand’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection took its core inspiration from a coral that Cornelia found on the beach, and the pressing ecological issue of declining coral reefs has become Cornelia’s problem to tackle headfirst. “The jewellery industry has been eating up the coral reefs for so long. I felt I needed to create a jewellery company to give back to the coral reefs that we have taken from,” she explains.

In her efforts to give back, the Swedish native is working with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s 1% for the Planet initiative to donate 1% of profits to rebuilding coral reefs. One way she's achieving this is through laying nets on the ocean bed and channeling electricity. “The electricity attracts plankton and microscopical microbes that are food for the corals so they grow up faster,” she explains. “Through this process we hope to see the coral go from white and dead to blooming again.”

The other part of her project is rooted in educating the locals in the villages, who, for a period of time, were finishing with dynamite for a quick and easy process. “The locals don’t see it in the long run so it’s really about educating and rebuilding,” she tells us.

Elsewhere, sustainability is, naturally, high on the agenda for her physical store in Stockholm. “All of our packaging and bags is recycled,” she says. “It’s really important that all of the materials need to be ‘good’ and sustainable.”

While the process of becoming a completely zero-waste and wholeheartedly recycled company isn’t an easy feat, Cornelia Webb is among those making strides towards the ultimate goal. As the designer puts it: "It's bit by bit to get there...".

Support Cornelia's ethos; shop her designs via Harvey Nichols, here:

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