BJA confirms launch date for new CSR framework

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Jewellery-specific model to provide first steps in CSR from October.

The British Jeweller’s Association outlined its plans to introduce a jewellery-specific Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) framework in October 2014, during a seminar at International Jewellery London (IJL) yesterday.

During a talk designed to promote and explain the benefits of CSR practices, BJA chief executive officer Simon Rainer solidified his plans to roll-out a jewellery industry-focused CSR model, dubbed the Jeweller’s Social Responsibility Framework (JSR), in October 2014.

The IJL seminar on Sunday August 31 was hosted by Rainer alongside president of The World Jewelry Confederation (CIBJO) Gaetano Cavalieri, chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council James Courage, and co-director for Trust and Ethical Behaviour (CETEB) and professor of Marketing at Coventry University, Marylyn Carrigan.

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As the first of its kind, Rainer’s JSR will provide an introductory approach for retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and designers wanting to start their CSR journeys. It will be available in document form on the BJA’s website from October.

It is hoped that the JSR will provide a uniform approach to CSR practices across the industry, as Rainer revealed that the framework will be offered to BJA members and the wider industry – in order to ensure not only BJA members, but also those companies they deal with within the supply chain, are ethical and responsible.

The UK jewellery industry currently generates £8.5 billion per annum, with £700 million worth of profit. It is hoped the basic JSR framework will make a major contribution to raising standards and profits throughout the UK industry.

The seminar panellists also spoke about the wider implications of CSR policies, and urged businesses to assess their current operational model; from their use of utilities and the impact they’re having on the environment to community involvement, staff training and supply chain transparency.

During the in-depth seminar, held in International Jewellery London’s open-plan Inspiration Theatre, Professor Marylyn Carrigan highlighted the fact that CSR isn’t easy, while pointing to the fear of being ‘named and shamed’ as the reason why many businesses don’t openly admit to taking steps in an ethical direction.

Admitting it’s about finding a middle ground between profits and responsibility, Professor Carrigan said that the jewellery industry is particularly challenging for CSR, especially because of fragmented supply chains, a lack of transparency and traceability, global competition for consumers and the high-cost, high-security nature of diamonds and gemstones.

She explained that all jewellers should take a “do no harm” approach to business, with “honesty, trustworthiness and co-operation” as the keys to success.

When the floor opened to questions, members of the audience raised concerns about the longevity of CSR policies – noting that they are often the ‘first to go’ when a business goes through difficult financial periods. In response, all of the panellists agreed that CSR should not be treated as simply a “PR stunt” to attract ethically-minded consumers, and shouldn’t be brushed aside even when the “bottom line” of a business is threatened.

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