Every American Duchess product is a celebration of the beauty of the past, and we'd like to do everything in our power to ensure that there's a bright, clean future for future generations.

We acknowledge we have a long way to go to reach sustainability given the fundamental nature of our business, but we are using every opportunity to reduce our impact on the environment in our choice of suppliers, shipping choices, packaging materials, and office environment.

American Duchess always welcomes suggestions as to how we might become more environmentally responsible. If you have an idea, or suggestion then please get in touch!

Choice Of Leather

Where possible we do our very best to influence our manufacturing partners to source the high quality leather used in our shoes from within the European Union or other locations where the environmental impact of tanning is lessened by strong local legislation.

We particularly favor Italian leather, both for quality, but also because only skins that are a by-product from the food industry are used. The Italian Leather industry also uses the most cutting edge technology in the world for the treatment of tanning effluent, and are tightly regulated in their reuse of manufacturing waste.

Shoe Buckle Materials

Our buckles use materials that conform with the requirements of both the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and California's AB 1681 "lead in adult jewelry" law (the most stringent law in the USA applying to jewelry). Our buckles are made in a very employee friendly factory using environmentally considerate plating methods.

Product Packaging

We strive to use packaging that uses as little material as possible. You won't find our shoes in luxury boxes, but rather boxes that are basic and functional. Inside you'll find our shoes wrapped in tissue made from recycled materials. Our pins and shoe buckles are packaged in beautiful, protective, reusable fabric bags.

Shipping Materials

All of our shipping boxes currently contain at least 65% post consumer waste, and we use 100% post consumer waste boxes (or Cradle to Cradle Certified USPS Priority Mail shipping boxes) where possible and appropriate. All of our boxes are locally manufactured in Sparks, NV and have a low hydrocarbon and heavy metal content, so that they may be safely recycled or composted after use.

We focus on using boxes that are as small as possible in order to:

  • reduce material usage
  • reduce waste once the box has been used
  • reduce shipping footprint
  • reduce the amount of void fill needed for shipping.

Over 95% of our shipments now use just 1 sheet of 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper or less. Occasionally, if a supplier sends us a shipment containing air filled pillows or peanuts then we will recycle them in as void fill in our customers' orders.

Order Documentation

We use lightweight recycled paper, with the emphasis on as little paper use as possible. We take advantage of USPS Intelligent Mail Services in order to reduce the amount of paper based customs forms where possible and use shipping labels where the paper content is 100% recycled.

Paperless Order/Shipping System

With the exception of the paperwork that is included with every order, every other aspect of your order from our website to the shipping system is handled electronically. No warehouse packing slips, no piles of invoices, just electrons. All of our computers are custom built with a careful selection of components for energy efficiency, anything that's not being used is either switched off, or powers down automatically.

Carrier Choice

We have selected USPS as our preferred carrier for two reasons:

1. They are the most competitive carrier on pricing for 95%+ of our orders.

2. Orders are collected and delivered by carriers who are already out on routes every day delivering mail. By using the USPS, we avoid using a carrier which has to make a special trip out to the collect orders, or to the delivery address in addition to the USPS mail carrier, thus reducing the unnecessary fuel usage and carbon emissions.