UK and Irish markets unite to support JEC-UK

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Industry leaders, trade bodies and buying groups ready to tackle CSR.

Industry leaders from the major trade associations and buying groups in the UK and Ireland have agreed to back the work of the Jewellery Ethics Committee UK (JEC-UK) after meeting to discuss issues of ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

At a designer-maker evening event organised by JEC-UK and the Goldsmiths’ Centre on Thursday October 2, Chair of the Committee, Vivien Johnston, announced that the Houlden Group, the Company of Master Jeweller (CMJ) and Retail Jewellers of Ireland (RJI) will work alongside the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG), British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) and the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) in supporting the work undertaken by the JEC-UK.

The initiative, which began in 2009 under the stewardship of former NAG chief executive officer Michael Hoare, has been working towards researching jewellery supply chains in and around the UK market and providing recommendations for jewellers to make their businesses ethically and socially responsible.

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The addition of the UK’s two largest buying groups and the largest jewellery trade association in Ireland to the JEC-UK rostrum gives further credence to the Committee’s continued efforts to tackle the ethical challenges that currently face the jewellery industry.

It is hoped that the additional support of these organisations will urge the industry to re-examine their approach to sourcing, particularly from ethical suppliers and manufacturers, as well as how their business impacts the wider-community they trade in, whether that be at a local, national or international level.

RJI president Alison Browne commented: “I’m so pleased to be involved with the work the JEC-UK is carrying out. Ethical issues are important to our members and we welcome the opportunity to share our retailer’s experiences and address the issues collectively.

“I was interested to learn from the JEC Gold Paper that up to 90% of UK gold is recycled and much of that is subject to self-regulation. I am realistically at this point looking for choice for our customers where a customer can have the option to order a ring in fair trade gold”.

Browne’s sentiment was echoed by Holden Group’s Helen Haddow, who commented: “It is encouraging to see the development within the Ethical Trade movement over recent years. The JEC has made significant development towards educating all aspects of the industry, including the supply chain, with their protocols and procedures.

"These practical solutions allow the different sectors within the jewellery industry to contribute towards the responsible sourcing of product, which we at the Houlden Group fully support.”

During the evening Greg Valerio of Fairtrade Gold presented the Fairtrade ‘I Do’ campaign to stress the importance of ethics to new consumers of jewellery, whilst Vivien Johnston presented an interim report on the JEC Diamond Paper.

The full paper, to be released in 2015, aims to give retailers, manufacturers and suppliers the tools they need to understand diamond supply chains in the UK and how they can best position their business to ensure they are acting as ethically as possible. The interim report will be available to download from the BJA, NAG and Gem-A websites, as well as the JEC-UK website here. www.jec-uk.com.

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