Emirates Woman headed to Thailand to discover Pandora’s secrets
Pandora charms have become known as tiny pieces of magic; a manifestation of your memories from around the world. How those memories are crafted, is a magical story in itself.
The journey of the iconic brand starts in the luscious hilltop town of Chiang Mai, Thailand, where Pandora employs around 14,000 people, almost half of its 32,000 global workforce.
The location can only be described as a paradise. It’s a verdant and exotic land, full of banana trees and rice fields, and the fragrant aroma of lemongrass and jasmine.
Chiang Mai is known for its efforts in the preservation of nature – one of the reasons Pandora selected the location to establish its green factory and kick off its sustainability plan.
The facility is a hive of activity and creativity where the local craftspeople are artisans of immense talent, taking precious metal and making it in to precious memories.
Founded in 1982, Pandora’s key philosophy is to be much more than just a jewelry company; pioneering in a new kind of business model where production, sustainability, and ethics meet. And it’s not just about the charms. In an industry that is often tarnished with contentious practices, Pandora’s mission to put sustainability first is at the forefront of its brand.
The dedication to each piece is thoughtful and significant, from the initial design to the production, where pieces are molded encrusted, plated, heated, and washed.
The company ensures the entire process meets its sustainability objectives by utilising 89.5% reused and recycled waste. The sustainability team is consulted every time new materials or suppliers are introduced into the design and production process.
Pandora established its sustainability team in 2010 and, in 2017, the Lamphun Plant in Chang Mai was accredited with its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
The company has since gone on to reinforce its local employment initiative, offering fair wages, as well as employee benefits such as healthcare, transportation, maternity classes and an extensive professional and personal development training programme, along with annual scholarships.
The brand is considered a premium product and the price point reflects its quality. While the jewelry industry is producing millions of silver pieces each year – often at lower prices – the sustainability factor, where each piece is constructed using 88% recycled silver, and the fine craftsmanship, set it apart. To be precise, each piece from Pandora involves the craftsmanship and creativity of 30 people.
As for Pandora’s plans for the future, Lars R. Nielsen, Vice President and General Manager of Pandora Production (Lamphun Plant), is setting the bar high.
“We are always focusing on new ways of doing things,” he says. “We’re looking into stamping to reduce uses of rubber and, when the time is right, we’ll be heading towards 3D printing”.
Spotlight on Sustainability
• 100% of glass waste, wax waste, and rubber waste is recycled. Some of the wax is made into candles or figurines. Rubber is converted into fuel or plastics, and glass is made in to new glass products.
• All of Pandora’s suppliers are regulated by its responsible supplier programme or are certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council, ensuring all employees work in healthy and safe conditions.
• The company’s water recycling initiative involves harvesting water during the wet season, as well as reducing its consumption by 45%.
• The Chang Mai plant is modern and technically impressive. The building also contains a natural pond in the central area to provide an ergonomic benefit.