Consumers expecting ethical jewellery – Cartier and Boucheron praised.
A report by Fair Jewelry Action, a non-profit organisation promoting fairly-traded jewellery, has found that top jewellery brands are failing to meet the growing expectations of customers for ethical sourcing of metals and gemstones.
The report, entitled Uplifting the Earth: the ethical performance of luxury jewellery brands says that the lack of drive from luxury brands has allowed new jewellery brands to emerge, including CRED Jewellery and Fifi Bijoux.
It benchmarked ten prestigious jewellery brands on their social and environmental performance. It has compared their performance with innovations in the ethical sourcing of precious metal and gemstones, and finds them significantly lagging behind, with the sole exceptions of Cartier and Boucheron, which are recognised for taking useful steps.
The research also found that six of the ten brands still offered to sell Burmese rubies from the shop floor in London or Geneva boutiques last year, despite an EU embargo.
It has been suggested that the lack of comprehensive action from prestigious brands is identified as the absence of a positive vision for the ethical role of the jewellery industry.
"Although a decade of effort to reduce conflict and environmental damage from jewellery supply chains has curbed some of the worst practices, it has failed to identify an aspirational role for jewellery," said the report’s co-author Dr. Jem Bendell.
"Today, the efforts of responsible jewellery pioneers are outlining a vision of ethical excellence. By comparing the actions of ten luxury brands with this new vision, the report finds luxury jewellery firms risk being left behind in an increasingly aspirational marketplace," Bendell added.
Interviews with international experts identified new brands that embody a new approach to jewellery, including CRED Jewellery, Fifi Bijoux, JEL and Brilliant Earth.
Marc Choyt, of Reflective Images Inc and co-founder of Fair Jewelry Action said: "The big brands must get their act together if they are not going to lose customers to the companies that really care. They can’t hide behind vague statements or the Kimberley Process anymore, because others are showing what’s possible. We can make jewellery that makes a positive difference to the world."
The brands benchmarked in the report were Boucheron, Bulgari, Buccellati, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Graff Diamonds, Harry Winston, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels.
The report can be downloaded for free from http://www.lifeworth.com/consult/2011/06/uplifting/