Responsible Jewellery Council Visits Antwerp to discuss UN Global Compact Partnership

18/10/2019 13:29

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has entered into a partnership with the United Nations Global Compact to develop best practice impact case studies for building awareness and educating key stakeholders across the jewelry supply chain from mine to retail on how businesses can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the RJC recently organized a roundtable discussion with Antwerp-based RJC members.

The AWDC recognizes the RJC as a leading standards organization for the entire diamond jewelry and watch industry, and intends to partner with the RJC to further promote good business conduct and responsible sourcing. Karla Basselier, Head of External & Public Affairs at the Antwerp diamond industry's representative organization, says the AWDC appreciates the leadership the RJC has shown in aligning sustainability initiatives with the Agenda 2030 in the diamond industry and expressed its full support to the goals of the RJC in this regard.

The RJC Code of Practices standard aligns with the 17 SDGs and the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact through a series of requirements covering:

  • Legal & regulatory compliance
  • Responsible supply chains, human rights and due diligence
  • Labour rights & working conditions
  • Health, safety & environment
  • Gold, silver, PGM, diamonds & coloured gemstones – disclosure
  • Responsible mining

“We welcome this partnership with the UN Global Compact," says David Bouffard, RJC Chairman. "Since 2005, the RJC has taken a leading role on sustainable development in the global jewelry supply chain. We believe in a model of shared values and we see the principles of the UN Global Compact and the SDGs as the foundation for shaping a better world,” 

“As the RJC will celebrate 15 years of legacy in 2020," says Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director. "It is the right momentum to look ahead for the next 15 years. We must work closely together with the Global Compact and all our stakeholders to drive global action on the SDGs. That is our moral responsibility."

Ms. Basselier of the AWDC also expressed the AWDC's commitment to contributing to the SDGs, adding that it will continue to work to implement them in all of its initiatives and operations, both within and outside of the framework of the RJC. "As a partner of the UN Global Compact, this commitment has been amply documented in our Report to Society, the sustainability report we presented in April 2019," she says. "In this report, we identified our local and international impact on the SDGs based on the AWDC’s policies and initiatives, as well as the challenges we are facing. The end result is an in-depth and critical report where integrity in the diamond value chain, compliance in the diamond industry, innovation and the future of Antwerp, and the economic impact in diamond-producing countries serve as essential pillars to align our sustainability agenda with the SDGs." 

She concluded, saying, "As SDG 17 itself states, global partnerships for the goals are essential to succeed in achieving the SDGs. The Antwerp diamond industry will always be supportive to organisations who show leadership in improving the positive impact of our brilliant industry to people, planet, and prosperity." The AWDC is currently working together with its sustainability partners CIFAL Flanders and Route 2030 to align the 'Sustatool' with the diamond sector, including the sector-specific risks and opportunities in the industry. The Sustatool is an initiative of the Flemish Government and aims to assist companies in analysing their operations, identifying possible improvements and prioritising certain sustainability themes linked to the 17 SDGs. It also provides a clear overview to monitor their progress.

The RJC's partnership with the United Nations Global Compact includes intitiatives such as a RJC technical workgroup on impact 2020-2030, training webinars on best practices, research tools on driving the SDGs throughout the industry with a special emphasis on:
SDG 5 - Gender Equality
SDG 8 - Decent Work & Economic Growth
SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption & Production
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
Over the next two years, the platform will report on SDG progress and support businesses in applying the guidance in their operations with the help of case studies, hands-on workshops and a continued dialogue with policy makers and investors.