lily cole rainforest rubber
by Michael dEstries
Categories: Causes, Environment
Tags: .
Photo: Lily Cole

We’ve seen celebs launch jewelry collections before to benefit some charity or another – but this is the first time someone has used wild Amazonian rubber to so beautifully highlight a cause.

Lily Cole, a UK model and actress, has partnered with Sky Rainforest Rescue, an initiative between Sky and WWF to help save a billion trees in the Amazon rainforest. The 25-year-old was inspired to launch a jewelry line made in part with wild Amazonian rubber after visiting rubber plantations in the Sky Rainforest Rescue project in Acre, Brazil, to see the rubber tapped from the trees and treated.

“Right now there isn’t a market distinction between wild rubber and plantation rubber,” she told the UK Telegraph. “Essentially it costs more to produce wild rubber because it’s a much more manual, less industrialised process; local tappers have to go into the forest and tap the trees accordingly. In the short-term the land is more valuable for cattle farming, so currently there isn’t enough of a financial incentive to do wild rubber trading, to protect the forest from being deforested.”

lily cole rubber jewelry

Speaking with Metro, she added: “The jewellery is just one example of how wild rubber can be used. One of the reasons I joined this campaign was to explore the rubber industry as a vehicle for green economics, which, if scaled up, I see as offering real hope to the rainforest.

“If, in the future, the value of wild rubber can exceed what can be made from the products that cause deforestation, then there is the real potential for a sustainable green economy.”

It may be that Cole is on to something – her entire collection, available through Stylistpick, appears to have sold out in less than 24 hours. That’s great news for Sky and WWF – who will receive 100% of the proceeds from the line.

“For me, the collection is a metaphor of what is possible. I hope we can use the material in many other products in the future,” she told Vogue UK. “Jewellery is also a good way of communicating the value and delicacy of the rainforest it represents. Wearing it against skin can connect us with a place and a dialogue that is seemingly far away.”

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • RemyC

    Rubber fetichists are going to love this story…