WB The Creative Jewellery Group held its second annual open day at Gecko, focusing predominantly on the company’s commitment to an ethical supply chain.
Managing director of WB The Creative Jewellery Group, Andrew Morton, comments: “Ethical thinking is absolutely central to the way our business operates and should, I believe, be close to the heart of everyone in our industry. It is essential that the very real benefits of creating and maintaining an ethical supply chain are understood clearly and are fed through to the retail sector who in their turn can educate the end consumer. This event provided a great opportunity to explain to some of our customers how this commitment works in practice and the way in which it can assist them at the point-of-sale.”
The company was delighted to welcome the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the international standards setting and certification organisation for the entire jewellery supply chain, to the open Day held at Gecko on July 4, cementing the days key theme.
The Group’s ‘ethical thinking’ and practices were elucidated to visiting retailers in a series of presentations given by Fiona Pluck who is responsible for overseeing the entire Group’s operations in this respect and she has worked tirelessly to meet the necessary criteria for membership of the RJC which it joined in 2013. After passing the stringent external audit process, the Group achieved certification against RJC Code of Practices in early 2015 for meeting the highest ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards as established by the organisation.
As Pluck explained, in its quest for a more transparent supply chain, Gecko has in recent years reduced the international suppliers with which it deals from 50 to 23 and the business is already seeing the benefits.
Between them, Pluck and Morton will make numerous overseas trips a year and visit all the companies with which the business has dealings (sometimes as many as three times) to ensure that they meet its strict criteria and that the working conditions and the products they supply are fit for purpose. Where things are not as they should be, Pluck stressed that the Group is happy to work with local staff to bring a company up to standard thus providing a better working environment for its employees and ultimately giving the business valuable accreditation which will be recognised by other potential customers.
Asked whether or not taking an ethical stance had a negative effect on profitability, Morton replied that overseas trips, training and accreditation obviously have a cost but that this is far outweighed by the assurances it provides. “Everything we do is carefully supervised and monitored to ensure we do not make mistakes and encounter any major disputes. However this is not really why we do it. We do it because it is right and this is the message we need to spread,” he answers.
The Group’s positive ethical message certainly seemed to appeal to visiting retailers many of whom confirmed that they are increasingly being asked for proof of provenance when selling jewellery, especially to by the 30-45 age group.
“We have obviously always trusted Gecko as an experienced and professional supplier but now we know the lengths to which they go to ensure that their product is ethical we are mightily impressed,” says Carolyn Sherwin a director of Niche Jewellery.