New organization focuses on ethical and social standards

The Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices (CRJP), a non-profit global umbrella organization designed to draft, and promote adherence to, corporate ethical and social standards for the worldwide jewelry industry has announced its formal launch with 14 member companies signed on.

The 14 founding members come from different parts of the supply chain, from mine to retail, and are committed to promoting responsible business practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the industry.

Matthew A. Runci, president and CEO of JA, a member organization, had detailed plans of the Council in a seminar titled “Consumer Confidence and Social, Ethical and Environmental Responsibility,” presented during the conference program of JCK Show in Las Vegas, Nev. Details of Runci’s talk and the CRJP were reported on JCK magazine’s Web site June 2.

In today’s world, issues in one segment of the jewelry industry, such as conflict diamonds in the mining and manufacture sectors, affect consumers’ opinions of the entire trade, he noted in his seminar.

“You, the retail jeweler, are the face of the industry to the public and most directly affected. If we lose the consumer’s confidence in us and our product, we lose business,” Runci said, emphasizing that’s why jewelers should support this effort to establish corporate standards for the worldwide industry to deal with potential social, ethical, and environmental issues before they generate negative media and special interest groups’ reports.

Founding members of the CRJP include: ABN AMRO Bank, BHP Billiton, Cartier, CIBJO, Diamond Trading Company, Diarough NV, Jewelers of America, Newmont Mining Corp., Rio Tinto PLC, Rosy Blue NV, Signet Group PLC, the National Association of Goldsmiths (UK), Tiffany & Co., and Zale Corp.

The Council is starting a consultation process and will consult widely with stakeholders interested in ethical, social and environmental issues within the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain. Those wishing to join the consultation process should email consultation@responsiblejewellery.com.