The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced it is launching a new Code of Practices (COP).
According to the organisation, the COP defines “responsible, social and environmental business practices” for companies in the jewellery supply chain and commits members to adhere to a “robust” set of comprehensive auditable standards.
Since it was formed in 2005, the RJC’s third COP iteration reflects the “evolving” needs of the industry and demands of consumers globally. The RJC said the latest version builds on a “solid foundation” and the core requirements, structure and format of the COP will be “deeply familiar to RJC members”.
Significant changes include:
- The expansion of the scope of materials to include coloured gemstones (rubies, emeralds and sapphires) and silver.
- The alignment of due diligence requirements with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains.
- New requirements on the detection of laboratory-grown diamonds.
The launch comes after a collaborative 18-month consultation process by the RJC, discussing proposed changes with members, civil society organisations and leading global standards bodies. More than 300 stakeholders were consulted via webinars and workshops across Asia, Europe and North America ensuring that those who are responsible for adhering to the changes have been a key part of their development.
Tyler Gillard, manager of sector projects, responsible business conduct unit, OECD, said: “The due diligence requirements in the COP show a real commitment to the OECD Guidance. The provision and its accompanying guidance provide, for the first time, a comprehensive due diligence approach tailored to the diamonds and coloured gemstones supply chains.
“I congratulate the RJC for its leadership in reaching this milestone, and encourage all members in the jewellery industry to step up their efforts to ensure these standards are meaningfully implemented as soon as possible.”
David Bouffard, RJC chairman, added: “We are proud to launch the latest Code of Practices because it builds on RJC’s 15 years of experience and data and addresses the rapidly changing demands of the industry, from mine to retail. Consultation has been key, listening to the valuable feedback provided by our stakeholders.
“It was an essential part of the review process, with members, civil society organisations and leading global assurance and industry bodies all incorporated into its development. The updated Code of Practices is an assurance from the RJC to our members that when they adhere to the industry’s most rigorous standards for responsible business practices, it reinforces their leadership position and instils trust with consumers.”