JCK’s 150th: Signet Jewelers’ VP David Bouffard on the Importance of Responsible Sourcing

JCK magazine is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year! To commemorate that milestone, we’re talking to 150 veteran jewelry professionals in 2019 for a feature series meant to distill the voices of some of the industry’s most enduring and successful professionals.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our JCK’s 150th series of industry interviews we’ve run every Thursday in 2019. We’re sending a huge thanks to all who participated. Here’s to 150 more years of vibrant independent reporting at JCK!

This week we hear from David Bouffard, vice president of corporate affairs for Signet Jewelers.

JCK: How long have you been in the jewelry industry, and how has it changed since you joined?

My career in the jewelry industry began about 40 years ago as a sales associate at an independent jeweler, which enabled me to pay for college tuition. Since graduating, I’ve worked in the industry all my adult life and have enjoyed many varied roles, with the last 37 years at Signet Jewelers.

This experience has given me a long-term perspective, and I think it’s fair to say that a great deal has changed since then; but there is also a great deal that has remained the same.

One of the most significant, and most positive, changes has been the increasing focus on consumer confidence in our industry, such as integrity, ethics, and especially responsible sourcing. Trust has always played an enormous role in our industry with customers. For many years, this specifically meant that customers could trust that they were truly getting jewelry containing the precious metals and stones that they expected, as advertised. However, over the years, as awareness has grown about the potential social, ethical, and environmental impacts of our industry, trust has also evolved to mean that jewelry must be responsibly sourced.

The industry’s more formal responsible sourcing efforts started with establishment of the Kimberley Process in 2003 and then the Responsible Jewellery Council shortly thereafter, in 2005. Signet was a founding member. The Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 was another impetus to highlight the need for an industry solution toward the continuous improvement in the integrity of the global jewelry supply chain—from mine to retailer.

The leaders in the industry—and I’m proud to say that Signet is one of them—have recognized that this is our responsibility to address [together]. For us, Signet has voluntarily developed sourcing policies that go above and beyond legal requirements, and they are proudly shared openly. And, the execution of these policies is verified via independent third-party audits. This needs to be the practice of every company in our industry.

The jewelry industry remains a very personal one that is ultimately about helping each and every customer find the perfect gift to celebrate their special life moments. As consumer expectations have changed, so have the requirements for the jeweler. I like to call this an ongoing process of continuous improvement, and as a result I believe we must always strive to do more, to exceed customer expectations.

What’s your experience with JCK magazine?

JCK magazine is the primary information source for the industry and is widely read throughout the world. It’s been that way for the 40 years I’ve been involved. It has a major responsibility to report business news as well as to follow important business trends. I think its news and other content is first class.

It has always had best-in-class reporters who uphold high journalistic standards while ensuring the industry is both informed and, by utilizing skilled writers, also entertained.

What has JCK magazine meant to you?

The magazine and then JCK as an organization has been a constant link to the industry for me, and, of course, we all refer to it every day. I’m especially fond of the daily and weekly news summaries, and especially the alerts, which I find a very useful reference. In short, JCK magazine keeps me in touch to what’s happening in the industry, with the issues facing the industry, and has taken a leading role in engaging and helping manage them over the years—it begins with awareness and education first, then advocacy.

Just starting out, I remember asking, “…what does JCK mean anyway?” The answer, “Jewelers’ Circular Keystone,” was not very helpful at first. I attended college just outside Philadelphia when I started, and JCK was coincidently located in Radnor [, Pa.,] at the time. I remember talking to the late William George Schuster, and he explained it to me: Jewelers’ was obvious. Circular was a parochial term for newsletter. Keystone was standard retail markup. While I never quite got how the three words complemented one another, like all media, JCK magazine has evolved. I think it’s embraced the online and social world very effectively. It’s known historically for its in-depth research and editorial features around the world. JCK’s news and interviews are all well done and read by everyone in the industry who wants to stay informed.

Top: David Bouffard (photo courtesy of Signet)

Catch up on all of JCK’s 150th interviews:

Andrea Hill, Hill Management
Benny Hematian, president of Effy Jewelry
Andrea Hansen, founder of Luxe Intelligence
Stephanie Gottlieb, jewelry designer
Barbara Palumbo, watch and jewelry ‎industry writer
Roger Dery, gem cutter and cofounder of Gem Legacy
Joanne Teichman, managing director of Ylang 23
Todd Reed, founder and designer of Todd Reed
Jonathan Goldman, CEO of Frederick Goldman
Brian Gavin, diamond cutter and diamond jewelry retailer
Cecilia Gardner, former president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and general counsel and director of the United States Kimberley Process Authority
Sarin Bachmann, event vice president of the JCK, Luxury, and Swiss Watch shows for Reed Jewelry Group
Dave Bonaparte, president and CEO of Jewelers of America
Ettagale Blauer, former JCK New York editor
Lee Siegelson, rare and collectible jewelry dealer and expert
Tamara and Amir Goldfiner, cofounders of Rahaminov Diamonds
Dallas Prince, founder of Dallas Prince Designs
Esther Fortunoff, president of Fortunoff Fine Jewelry
Terry Burman, former Signet chairman
Brandee Dallow, president and founder of Fine Girl Luxury Brand Building & Communications
Tom Chatham, CEO of Chatham Created Gems & Diamonds
Tom Heyman
, partner, Oscar Heyman & Brothers
Duvall O’Steen, jewelry publicist, Luxury Brand Group
Pat Henneberry, founder and president of the Jewelry Coach
Marty Hurwitz, CEO of MVI Marketing
Hank B. Siegel, president of Hamilton Jewelers
Erica Courtney, jewelry designer
Robert Weldon, director of GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center
Stuart Robertson, vice president of Gemworld
Bill Furman, longtime JCK magazine ad sales manager
Kathryn Kimmel, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of GIA
Katie Kinsella Murphy, owner of Kinney + Kinsella
Frank Dallahan, publisher, The Retailer Jeweler
Jen Cullen Williams, managing director of Luxury Brand Group
Sally Morrison, chief marketing officer of Lightbox
Susan M. Jacques, president and CEO of GIA
Marie Helene Morrow, president of Reinhold Jewelers
Jenny Luker, U.S. president of Platinum Guild International
Beth Gerstein, co-CEO of Brilliant Earth
Russell Shor, GIA senior industry analyst
Walter McTeigue, cofounder of McTeigue & McClelland
Caryl Capeci, president of Hearts On Fire
Eddie LeVian, CEO of Le Vian
Peggy Jo Donahue, freelance writer and former JCK editor-in-chief
Rebecca Moskal, jewelry marketing veteran

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