The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) announced it will develop its first-ever standard for laboratory-grown diamonds and gemstones.
“We think the time is more than right for our members,” says RJC executive director Iris Van der Veken (pictured). “Many of our members are selling both natural and lab-grown products. They want a credible solution, and they want the assurance that it is a robust standard.”
The group hopes to introduce the standard, which will include “social, environmental, and business integrity requirements,” by June 2022.
The RJC’s new laboratory-grown material (LGM) standard will include different dictates than the group’s Code of Practices, as lab-created products carry a different risk profile than natural products, such as the need for full disclosure, according to the RJC.
Van der Veken says that the RJC will consult with all stakeholders, in accordance with the ISEAL Standard-Setting Code of Good Practice. “We’ll be reaching out to all the big players over the next year,” she says.
She adds that the RJC doesn’t see this standard as competition for the Certified Sustainability Rated Diamond standard developed by SCS Global Services, which is also open to natural diamonds.
“I welcome any initiative that’s good for the industry and drives consumer confidence and trust and transparency,” she says. “But it is important that any standard is reliable, credible, and based on best practices, even in the way that it is developed. We know ISEAL is best practice.”
The SCS program has a consumer-facing element, which allows companies to call their products “certified sustainably rated” (not “certified sustainable,” as originally envisioned).
But Van der Veken says that the RJC is “slowly evolving” to becoming more consumer-facing.
“You have to be very careful,” she says. “We believe any statements need to have credible proof points. We believe the RJC is in a leading role [to develop a consumer-facing standard], as we have 15 years of learned know-how that we can apply.”
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