There are people who make monumental changes in their field of expertise, who work tirelessly to achieve a higher standard, and never ask for a word of thanks. Avilan™ thinks that they deserve to hear it nonetheless.
The first of many to come, Shout Out is a series where Avilan™ applauds artisans, retailers, eco-friendly thinkers, or just someone who deserves praise in the sustainable jewelry industry. For our inaugural article, there is no one we can think of more deserving of recognition than Marc Choyt. Cofounder and publisher of Fair Jewelry Action (FJA), Marc Choyt approaches the jewelry trade with the same level of ethical and eco-accountability to which he holds himself.
A graduate of Brown University, Choyt first demonstrated his commitment to designer jewelry by establishing Reflective Images Inc. in 1995 in Santa Fe, NM. With his wife and co-founder Helen Chantler, they converted both their national and international production to recycled metals, fair trade gemstones, and responsibly sourced diamonds with a focus on artisan sourcing and production. Reflective Images has been recognized numerous times for its forward thinking and activism, being honored in 2008 with the Excellence in Business Award by the City of Santa Fe as well as being named “Superior Supplier” for four years by OC Tanner Corp.
Not content with just one environmentally friendly enterprise, Choyt also works with the Madison Dialogue, a sustainability-focused jeweler committee formed in 2006, by spearheading a three-year volunteer cross-sector initiative in Washington D.C. in 2011. It was to create the world’s first Fair Trade Jewelry Manufacturing Standards and Principle Document, which would establish principles and standards for fair trade manufacturing in the mainstream jewelry sector on ethical issues.
In 2007, Choyt founded the Fair Jewelry Action USA, and environmental and human rights organization within the jewelry sector with forty members worldwide. It serves as the most important trade and consumer news resource on human rights and mining violations, responsible sourcing, and artisanal councils. His writing also extends to the business side of jewelry manufacturing, featured in his blog (and soon to be published book) The Circle Manifesto, a work on the economic and moral responsibilities of businesses.
Choyt is a leading authority on fair trade and fair mining issues and one of the key jewelry activists in North America. He is more than an advocate for sustainable jewelry sourcing and manufacturing; he is a pioneer in the field. He has been recognized numerous times, deservedly so, for his outstanding commitment to ethically and environmentally responsible business practices in the jewelry industry, his latest commendation being the Sustainable Leadership Summit Award. It is his contagious enthusiasm and passion for his work that makes him a forerunner in a very young, unexplored frontier of fair trade. The movement to sustainable, ethically sourced jewelry is still in its infancy, but with Marc Choyt at its head, one can rest assured that it strong, and has only just begun.