JA Moves Forward With Corporate Responsibility

The JA board of directors has approved three elements of its corporate responsibility initiative: the development of self-assessment and training tools and policy and procedure reviews for JA member jewelers, the implementation of the JA Supplier Code of Conduct, and collaboration with leading international corporate and institutional bodies.

“A credible and effective commitment to corporate responsibility throughout the supply chain is essential to maintaining consumer confidence in the industry and in its products,” said JA president and CEO Matthew A. Runci, who also serves as vice president of the Consumer Confidence Commission of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation.

To help its members meet their responsibilities, JA is designing an internal monitoring service as a member benefit. Elements under consideration include a diagnostic self-assessment tool, mystery shoppers, training for sales professionals and store managers, and policy and procedure reviews. JA members who subscribe will earn a special designation, which they can use in their advertising, promotion, and communications.

JA’s corporate responsibility initiative began more than three years ago when JA retained the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers to help identify and evaluate risks associated with issues beyond conflict diamonds confronting the jewelry industry.

In 2002, JA revised its mission statement to express JA’s commitment to social, ethical, and environmental principles. The JA board of directors also adopted a comprehensive Statement of Principles for JA and its member jewelers that same year. This framework served to confirm JA’s expectations of its members in regard to corporate responsibility.

The JA Supplier Code of Conduct, adopted by the JA board earlier this year, was designed to help members uphold and maintain the JA Statement of Principles. The goal is for JA members to encourage their suppliers to adopt the ethical business practices described in the Code of Conduct, to effect positive change throughout the jewelry supply chain.

The JA board recently approved steps to begin to put the JA Supplier Code of Conduct into practice. JA will send its members information on their role in the code’s implementation. Among other materials, members will receive tips on communicating their expectations for responsible corporate practices to their suppliers.

Several JA working committees continue to review the findings of PricewaterhouseCoopers and recommend courses of action for JA. New efforts will focus on conflict diamonds, human rights, labor rights, the environment, compliance with anti-money laundering regulations, business integrity and accountability, and equitable economic development.