RJC says it will intensify its fight for an ethical jewellery trade.
Membership of the Responsible Jewellery Council has grown to 190 companies, over half of which have joined in only the past year, the organisation’s vice-chairman said on Tuesday.
Addressing the media at a pre-show BaselWorld conference, John Hall said that momentum has been building, despite the recession driving ethics down the list of boardroom issues.
The RJC aims to advance responsible ethical, social and environmental practise that respect human rights throughout the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain.
The council concedes that its role falls short of policing the industry, but its members sign up to a strict code of practices designed to improve the reputation of manufacturers, miners and retailers in the eyes of consumers.
Michael Rae, the RJC CEO, reminds people that jewellery is an entirely discretionary purchase that cannot afford to be associated with negative images such as slave labour and killing wildlife with pollution.
“Gold and diamond jewellery must not be allowed to go the way of fur and become an unacceptable luxury,” he cautioned.
Although the RJC is now in its fifth year, the work required to establish standards that can be audited across its members has meant that the real work of signing up new companies and checking their compliance is only just beginning.
The recent growth in the number of members is leading to some RJC signatories adopting a strategy of only trading with each other in order to avoid contaminating their operations with products of rogue suppliers that do not adhere to RJC standards.
These “chain of custody issues,” as Rae describes them, are likely to be addressed in future amendments to the RJC code of practice, he suggested without elaborating.
RJC does not currently certify individual jewellery components within the manufacturing process.
Find out more about the RJC at www.responsiblejewellery.com.