The Plumb Club, the supplier organization comprising some of the biggest names in the industry, is requiring its members to become certified members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).
Around 75% of the group’s members are already RJC members, Plumb Club executive director Lawrence Hess said at a press conference held today in New York City.
The remaining companies now have 90 days to apply for membership.
The RJC certifies that members are adhering to responsible business practices by having an independent auditor check their compliance with the group’s code of practices.
The RJC Code of Practices, which can be seen here, lays out a wide range of guidelines for how jewelry companies, including retailers, should conduct their business, with specific ethical, human rights, health, safety, and environmental standards.
Members are required to be compliant with the code within two years of joining RJC.
Speaking at the press conference, RJC chairman David Bouffard called the new Plumb Club bylaw an “important milestone” for his organization and one that he hopes will lead to greater industry adoption of the RJC code.
“I ask other trade associations within our industry to follow the leadership of the Plumb Club: Require your members to join the RJC,” said Bouffard, who also serves as vice president of business affairs for Signet Jewelers.
He said that the RJC wants to raise its profile so that retailers and consumers become more aware of the benefits of buying from RJC members.
Plumb Club president Michael Lerche said he was proud that his group was the first association to mandate its members be RJC certified, and he called on other groups to follow its lead.
“Over the last year, we’ve read more and more stories about all kinds of transgressions of responsible business practices in our industry,” he said. “We strongly believe that any jewelry retailer buying product from a non-RJC member is taking a very serious and unnecessary risk.”
Lerche added that the entire industry has had to raise its practices.
“And if current events are any indication, if you don’t take this step, the U.S. government will take this step for you,” he said.
(Images courtesy of the Plumb Club and the Responsible Jewellery Council)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine