After two weeks’ debate and nearly 40,000 delegates from 196 nations, we have an agreement: “l’accord de Paris est adopté!” The COP21 climate deal in Paris, hours since signing, is the world’s largest agreement on tackling climate change and an historic step forward for the transition to a low carbon economy. A huge amount of political capital has been lent to the cause, together with some of the most brilliant and influential minds on the planet. With all of this clout, how can Spey, a purveyor of fine pearls, help? By doing what we do best: championing the mollusk.
The sustainable practices of pearling make the industry at large a model for biodiversity, ecosystem repair, and ecological conservation. Quality of raw material is fundamental to the creation of premium goods, and this relationship between provenance and product is most acutely embodied in pearls. The smallest disruption to the environment, whether from climate change or other, may have devastating effects on mollusk health. But as a private company many thousands of miles from the rich akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea oyster beds that produce our pearls, Spey can do more.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, echoed the applause that accompanied the COP21 accord: “With these elements in place, markets now have the clear signal they need to unleash the full force of human ingenuity and scale up investments that will generate low-emissions [and] resilient growth,” adding that “what was once unthinkable has now become unstoppable.” In this spirit, Spey is taking to the Scottish Highlands, where flows our namesake River Spey. Nestled within its waters is a pearl-producing mussel – one of the most critically endangered in the world. Challenge accepted.
If COP21 has taught us anything, it is that people can come together to better our planet; so we are bringing together research institutions and universities, activists and conservationists, whisky distillers and governments to give muscle to the mussel. This new initiative, the Spey Foundation, will work tirelessly to regenerate mussel populations that are critical to water purity and river health. Want to help? Drop us a note and we will return with all the ways to get involved. As President Obama declared when the COP21 treaty was signed, “Together, we’ve shown what’s possible when the world stands as one.” From the most humble fine pearl company in Washington, DC to the largest international enterprise, we have a shared and solemn duty to work toward a more lustrous future.