Positive Luxury -- Sustainability and ESG Experts Positive Luxury -- Sustainability and ESG Experts
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Thursday, November 9, 2023


Established in 1995 by Wade and Danielle Papin, fine jewellery brand Pyrrha was grounded with a commitment to always follow their own rules. With minimal prior jewellery experience, the two built their pieces through trial and error, eventually finding success in 1995 when Pyrrha shaped into the brand they had always envisioned it to be. With strong values on preserving the environment, the brand is a product of Wade and Danielle’s shared belief in sustainability. As a member of both Positive Luxury’s Real Changemaker community and the Responsible Jewellery Council, Pyrrha operates with a desire to not only do no harm but to make things better in the world. In this sustainability spotlight, Wade and Danielle highlight what it takes to create a zero-carbon studio in addition to the various sustainability related challenges they encountered along the way. They give us insight into how they select their suppliers to ensure they align with their values, how to embrace the beauty in imperfection, and how they aim to create positive change within the jewellery industry.

. . . 

Hi Wade and Danielle, can you tell us about Pyrrha and how your business all began?

In 1993, we met, fell in love and began experimenting with what would two years later become Pyrrha. Neither of us had a background in jewellery, but we both had an affinity for art, and we learned all that we could from books at the library (the internet wasn’t really a thing yet). A lot of trial and error – heavy on the error – led us down an unconventional path to success. Our first collections were all modern offerings that drove us into the spotlight and were carried by design shops worldwide, but our look changed dramatically when we realized that what we were creating no longer fed our souls. In 2004, our estate sale discovery of a dusty box of badly damaged antique wax seals shifted our focus and, in a way, brought Pyrrha home. The seals inspired us to elevate the beauty of imperfection, and they became the heart and soul of our work. Our new line of meaningful talismans, inspired by those original wax seals, aligned with our love of other beautifully flawed creative forms like music and art. Initially, our revamped collection received a lukewarm response from retailers who thought the worn, antiqued look wouldn’t appeal to customers (which was valid considering that “bling” was ubiquitous at the time). This change even led to the loss of a number of accounts, but we remained true to our vision. We chose to create jewellery that resonated with us personally, even if it meant risking our established market. Today, we believe that without this bold shift, Pyrrha might not have survived. Our commitment to remaining authentic not only sustained us but also shaped Pyrrha into the brand it is today.

You’ve created an incredible zero-carbon certified studio in Vancouver to create your jewellery, can you tell us more about that decision making?

The design and construction of our new more sustainable studio and showroom was almost 8 years in the making. The 100-year-old house that’s home to our showroom was one of our original studios but we quickly outgrew it. We always envisioned a space where we could become a shining example of vertical integration in the jewellery industry – a space where we could control every aspect of our production and ensure that we were operating as sustainably as possible. We are a true anomaly in the industry in that we design, prototype, cast, finish, package, and ship all out of the same space. It was equally important to us to be centrally located in the city so we could open up our studio to the public, keep our staff from having to commute long distances, and for us to maintain our connection with the local community.

What were some of the main sustainability challenges when creating the studio, you had to overcome?

Building in Vancouver is very expensive, but building sustainably has an additional set of challenges. Many of the materials we needed to source are difficult to come by as they’re not routinely used and are unfamiliar to many tradespeople. There was a lot of trial and error as we figured out ways to do things differently, requiring special permits and permissions along the way. The primary building material was CLT (cross-laminated timbre) which, while extensively used in Europe, is relatively unusual in Canada…especially for a tall tower with a small floor plate. Our geothermal heating and cooling required deep drilling that hit a lot of unexpected rock that needed to be removed at great cost, and the site itself was difficult to access. We had to move the house off-site in order to build the tower, then bring it back and restore it to its former glory. It was challenging to achieve Zero-Carbon certification from the Canadian Green Building Council because a build on such a small scale was new for them as it’s set up for much larger development. In order to control heat gain from southern exposure, we installed photochromatic windows that tint according to the angle of the sun – in fact, every material had to be scrutinised to achieve our goal.

When it comes to sourcing, what are some of the considerations you take to choosing and working with your suppliers?

We require that our suppliers uphold industry-specific certifications. In addition to being Butterly Mark certified, we’re also certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). As a member, we help to transform supply chains to be more responsible and sustainable. For example, our RJC certification notes that our cast gold products are made using 100% recycled gold purchased from suppliers with Precious Metals Gold certification by SCS Global Services. By working closely with our suppliers, we can better understand their operations, influence their practices, and ensure that they continue to meet our high standards.

Why was it important for you as a business to seek third party verifications for your sustainability actions and performance?

Third-party verifications are a crucial aspect of our sustainability initiatives because they build trust. There are far too many companies claiming to be sustainable and it’s important for our customers to be able to break through the marketing clutter as greenwashing causes a tremendous amount of damage to our industry. These certifications require us to be transparent about our processes and impacts. They ensure we’re not just talking about sustainability but actually implementing it in measurable ways. Also, these third-party certifications involve regular audits or assessments, which help us identify areas for improvement. They provide benchmarks against which we can measure our progress over time so that we can continue to improve.

Finally, what would you say is your immediate focus for creating positive change in the jewellery industry?

We’re focussed on educating consumers about the impact of their purchases and encouraging them to ask the right questions. We believe that change will come when consumers leverage their buying power, voice their concerns, and hold companies accountable for their practices. It’s no longer enough to accept “we strive for sustainability in every aspect of our business” – we need to ask the hard questions and if answers are unclear, we need to probe further.


< Back

About Positive Luxury

 Since 2011 Positive Luxury has been accelerating organizations' adaptation to the new climate economy, keeping clients ahead of cultural and economic shifts. The company's unique four-part methodology is the only ESG assessment and certification program designed specifically for the luxury industry and incorporates a particular focus on innovation. Visit: www.positiveluxury.com and follow @Positiveluxury  

 Rejecting the traditional model rating past performance, Positive Luxury provides clients with precise gap analysis and the ability to identify and address current and future sustainability risks and diagnostics. In addition, the Connected Butterfly Mark communication tool also helps them leverage areas of strength and opportunities for competitive advantage.

 Companies that meet Positive Luxury's exacting standards for certification are approved for the Butterfly Mark, a globally respected trust mark, independently verified, signaling that companies meet the highest standard of sustainability best practice across ESG+: environmental, social, governance and innovation. With a growing community of nearly 200 luxury companies, Positive Luxury has created a community of brands, retailers, and suppliers taking tangible action – measuring, managing, and reporting their ESG impact.


Diana Verde Nieto, Co-founder, and Co-CEO of Positive Luxury 

Diana Verde Nieto is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Positive Luxury, a pioneer in ESG, and a globally recognized figure in sustainability. Diana holds a degree in Global Leadership & Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, was trained by Former USA Vice President Al Gore at the Alliance of Climate Protection and was subsequently honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. In addition, Diana sits on various boards, including BA&SH and Grass Roots Soccer, an adolescent health organization that leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize youth in developing countries.

"Consumers, employees, and the investment community demand transparency and accountability from brands, and our new Connected Butterfly Mark answer to that. From a single source of truth, people can easily access an unparalleled depth of verified ESG+ verified performance data, including a brand's sustainability journey, clearly stating their actions and ambition. This level of disclosure raises the bar for Luxury and beyond." Diana Verde Nieto, Co-Founder, and Co-CEO of Positive Luxury


Amy Nelson-Bennett, Co-CEO

Amy Nelson-Bennett brings 25 years of global experience across business transformation, brand and commercial strategy, and digital commerce and communications gained across media, retail, and luxury goods. Most recently, she led the successful turnaround of Molton Brown as CEO & President and joined the PE-backed Clive Christian Group to modernize the brand and operations and deliver rapid growth. Amy is responsible for the strategic direction of Positive Luxury, brand and commercial strategy, and day-to-day business operations. By championing a new definition of Luxury that aligns with the core principle of Luxury and sustainability, she aims to accelerate the actions of the Luxury industry and the collective positive impact it can make on nature and society. 

"Our unique four-part methodology – assessment, certification, trust-building, and future-proofing – ensures every luxury business can continuously improve its ESG performance, realize ROI and optimize sustainability as a driver of corporate value. In addition, the Connected Butterfly Mark certification sets a new public disclosure standard for certified companies and the unique value Positive Luxury provides to luxury brands, retailers, and suppliers." – Amy Nelson-Bennett, Co-CEO of Positive Luxury.

For more information, please contact: Amore Philip | Apples & Oranges Public Relations | 929-229-5512 | Admin@aoprllc.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Amore Philip
Title: P.R. Director
Group: Apples & Oranges Public Relations
Dateline: New York, NY United States
Direct Phone: 929-229-5512
Cell Phone: 347-683-6626
Jump To Positive Luxury -- Sustainability and ESG Experts Jump To Positive Luxury -- Sustainability and ESG Experts
Contact Click to Contact