The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) today launched its new Code of Practices (COP). 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. This marks the third iteration of the COP since the RJC formed in 2005, and reflects the evolving needs of the industry and demands of consumers globally.
Significant changes to the COP include the expansion of the scope of materials to include colored 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; and new requirements on the detection of laboratory-grown diamonds.
The organization says the new COP is the result of a collaborative 18-month consultation process in which the RJC discussed 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." Gillard added that he hopes the standards "are meaningfully implemented as soon as possible.”
David Bouffard, RJC Chairman said: “The latest Code of Practices ... 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.”