Responsible Jewellery Council joins UN Global Compact to act on SDGs

The Responsible Jewellery Council has forged a new partnership with the UN Global Compact which will see members such as Swarovski, Tiffany & Co and the De Beers Group, develop actions that align and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 Since 2005, RJC membership has grown from 14 to more than 1,100 organisations across the jewellery value chain

 Since 2005, RJC membership has grown from 14 to more than 1,100 organisations across the jewellery value chain

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) will promote best-practice case studies, webinars, and research tools to enable its members to contribute to the SDGs.

The Council will initially focus on Goals relating to gender equality, decent work and economic growth, responsible consumption and production, climate action and partnerships for the goals.

“We welcome this partnership with the UN Global Compact. Since 2005, the RJC has taken a leading role on sustainable development in the global jewellery supply chain. We believe in a model of shared values and we see the principles of the UN Global Compact and the SDGs as the foundation for shaping a better world,” RJC’s chairman David Bouffard said.

All that glitters is not gold

Since 2005, RJC membership has grown from 14 to more than 1,100 organisations across the jewellery value chain, from miners to retailers. The Council aims to promote and advocate responsible practices.

All members must achieve RJC certification within two years of joining the RJC, which demonstrates that business practices conform to RJC’s Code of Practices for business ethics, human rights, social and environmental performance.

The partnership is welcome, as many reports detail that the sector is failing to comply with certain standards, particularly those related to human rights.

In 2017, the All that glitters is not gold report from Adrea International found that just 37% of modern slavery statements issued by eight of the top UK jewellery brands were compliant with reporting requirements.

The report examined the practices of Tiffany & Co, Goldsmiths, Links, F. Hinds, Beaverbrooks, Boodles, Cartier and the Signet Group and companies under its control. It noted that most companies are relying on the work of overarching, voluntary councils when it comes to human rights, with only a few companies pushing actions beyond the practices of industry bodies.

The sector has suffered from previous ethical discrepancies, following the emergence of “blood diamonds” and the role they had in fuelling conflicts in Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. As well as environmental damage, mining is also known to impact human rights. In Tanzania, Africa’s fourth largest gold producer, mercury and cyanide poisoning occurred amongst many of the miners.

More recently, jewellery giant and RJC member Swarovski calculated the monetary value of the natural resources used to produce its namesake crystals, in a move towards its overarching aim to supply "the world's most transparent crystal".

Matt Mace



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