High street retailer releases statement regarding staff inaccuracy.
Catalogue and high street retail giant Argos has released a formal statement exclusively to Professional Jeweller in response to the news that it will be named in a Channel 4 documentary focused on unethical gold mining.
Following the news that investigative TV series Dispatches filmed undercover in its retail stores, Argos was contacted by Professional Jeweller to offer a response.
Dispatches claims to have footage which shows a retail member of Argos staff telling a customer that its gold was mined in Italy. Argos later admitted inaccurate information had been given.
In response, Argos, on behalf of Home Retail Group, has said: "Argos is disappointed to learn that one of our store colleagues responded to the questions regarding gold sourcing with inaccurate information. We do have a very clear policy which is documented in our catalogue and online and we are sorry this was not communicated correctly in this instance.
"Argos is committed to being a responsible retailer. We are members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and we require our jewellery suppliers to become members of the RJC or similar organisation. Argos is committed to being a responsible retailer and this is reflected in our approach to ethical sourcing.
"We will be improving the way we communicate our gold policy to colleagues and customers including putting in place additional training and placing customer information in our stores.
"Argos believes there is a clear need for the jewellery industry as a whole to seek high standards of supply chain scrutiny. We are members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) in order to work with the wider jewellery industry to achieve greater visibility and influence over the sourcing of gold and diamonds for our products.
"We require our jewellery suppliers to become members of the RJC or any similar organisation which works to assure compliance with equivalent principles and codes of practice or to ensure that manufacturing facilities are independently verified to ensure compliance with the requirements of the RJC Codes of Practice.
"Membership of RJC requires a commitment to promoting responsible business practices in the jewellery supply chain and the operation of business in accordance with RJC prevailing principles and codes of practice on business ethics, human rights, social and environmental practices adapted by the Council. RJC members are required to be independently audited to the codes of practice.
"Additionally, our suppliers are required to warrant that they will not source diamonds from conflict 1 regions, enabling us to meet the aims and requirements of the ‘Kimberley Process 2’.
"1The United Nations defines conflict diamonds as “those diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognised governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of decisions of the United Nations Security Council.”
2 The Kimberley Process established a certification scheme which has been in effect since 1 January 2003. Rough diamonds must be exported in sealed containers with numbered, government issued certificates of origin. Once diamonds have been cut, a system of warranties complements the Kimberley Process.
"Our policy is outlined in the Argos catalogue (p.1801) and appears on the Home Retail Group website in the corporate responsibility section: http://www.thebasisofgoodbusiness.com/Home/Our-focus/Good-business-management/Policies.aspx"