Industry / Shows

Industry Experts Talk Responsibility and Sourcing at 2022 JCK Show


The growing trend toward sustainability has reached an inflection point of the industry, moderator Kyle Roderick said during the June 10 JCK Talks panel on Responsibility and Sourcing.

“We have really come to the point where it’s impossible to greenwash anymore,” she said.

Designer and Mercury Free Mining founder Toby Pomeroy called mercury, which is commonly used in small-scale gold mining, “a global health crisis.”

His group is working on ways to provide the 20 million small-scale gold miners with options to unearth the metal that don’t involve mercury, a potent neurotoxin.

“They don’t have a way to mine without it. But women, children, and developing neurological systems are most vulnerable” to the effects, he said.

He said his group “bridges the needs of the miners and the jewelry industry. Twenty percent of gold is mined by artisanal and small-scale miners. We, as an industry, depend on them.”

Pomeroy is working with SCS Global Systems on a program to do “certified sustainability rated” gold. Unlike past certifications for organic food, which ended up hurting small farmers, he said SCS is now making sure to keep small-scale miners in the equation, working with groups such as the Alliance for Responsible Mining.

John Pollard, senior director of education for the International Gemological Institute, said “it’s all too easy for the term conflict diamonds to be used by overseas producers of lab-grown diamonds.

“I’m not happy with overseas producers who are trying to chop the heads off of natural diamond producers to make themselves look taller,” adding that many lab-grown diamonds are produced using fossil fuels.

Pollard said many African governments depend on natural diamond sales, and that conflict minerals such as coltan don’t get the same publicity as conflict diamonds.

“As an industry we need to be committed to continuous improvement,” he said. “But we also have to talk about the positive that’s happening.”

Top: Toby Pomeroy, Kyle Roderick, and John Pollard (photograph by Camilla Sjodin)

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine

By: Rob Bates

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out