Harriet Kelsall on why independents should consider getting certified.
By Harriet Kelsall
I am absolutely delighted that we are the first independent UK business to be certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). I was a very early member of the RJC and have long supported what it has been doing. I was keen to be involved to help to ensure that smaller businesses don’t get left behind.
The RJC certification process in simple terms is a process whereby you hold your business up to a series of ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards laid out in the documentation. You check that you have the right kind of rules and procedures in place and are behaving responsibly as a business.
This includes not only chain of custody stuff, such as your procedures on training staff on conflict diamonds and ensuring you aren’t using diamonds from outside the Kimberly Process, but a broad range of other things such as whether you are fully complying with UK employment and health and safety law. Once completed you are independently audited and, if successful, receive your certification.
I thought long and hard about whether my business could afford the man hours to go through the process, but I’m glad we did because we did find areas of the business that needed improving. We learnt a lot and we are now stronger for having done it.
Having got through it also makes me feel ready and able to further improve things with a new-found energy of the cleaness and security of mind that we are doing all that we can to be a responsible company.
I have to add though that at times it was hard and quite technical, because the documentation is difficult to read and non-UK specific, but I wanted to be the first UK small independent to show that it can be done and that it isn’t just for the big boys.
Furthermore as a result of us having achieved this, Simon Rainer from the BJA has said that once he has a few members keen to go through the certification that the BJA will then work on providing tools and better-written guidelines to help them through it. So I would urge other small business to contact the BJA and get the ball rolling.
This article was taken from the Voice of the Industry column in December’s issue of Professional Jeweller. To read this article and more in full online, read our digital versions by clicking here.