James Courage quizzed on issues of RJC certification and transparency

An interview with James Courage, chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council, has put the organisation’s certification process under the spotlight, highlighting the fact that RJC certification only applies to a part of a company and not the company as a whole.

According to the interview in JCK, Courage comments: “If you look at the certification of any member, it is precise to what it covers. It will delineate the part of the organization that has passed the audit.  You don’t want to have that misunderstanding that if only part of the company is certified, then the whole company is certified.”

Countering this point, JCK interviewer Rob Bates suggests that press releases from the company do nothing to clarify this distinction – suggesting the whole company has achieved RJC certification. Courage replies: “I think that’s a good point to raise, and transparency is something we should be about. But when you do due diligence, the certificates clearly delineate what parts of the organisation are certified.

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On the topic of whether every certified company should have all its branches and divisions certified, Courage explained: “ We have seen a move toward that. We think it’s better to have people become partial members than to discourage them from even making that first step. Sometimes people will enter part of the organization to see how it works, but will enhance their scope afterward.

“For a lot of those organisations, these are big commitments. They don’t want to make it all at once, they aren’t ready for it. In some organizations, they might do a lot of business in silver or coloured stones, and we don’t cover those areas. But the hope is that the partially covered members will broaden their scopes.”

The Responsible Jewellery Council has undergone changes of late, specifically losing its standards director Fiona Solomon and its chief executive officer. Chief operating officer Catherine Sproule remains.

James Courage has also announced that he is leaving the RJC this month.



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