The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced a new Code of Practices following an in-depth review of its former standards.
The London-based organisation, which seeks to set standards and certify watch companies, currently has more than 460 members spanning the jewellery and watch supply chain from mine to retail.
During 2012 to 2013, it carried out an extensive multi-stakeholder review of its mandatory member standard, dubbed the Code of Practices. The revisions made incorporate valuable feedback from more than 500 responses through webinars, submissions and market outreach in Asia, Europe and North America.
The result is a new Code of Practices that the RJC says emphasises its "comprehensive approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues from mine to retail and the growing importance of responsible supply chains". It has released accompanying guidance and toolkits, which have also been significantly revised so as to provide more detailed implementation support for businesses.
The significant changes in the new Code of Practices include:
- Alignment with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
- New sections on Provenance Claims for diamonds, gold and platinum group metals, sourcing from conflict-affected areas and sourcing from artisanal and small-scale mining
- New sections on Free Prior and Informed Consent, and mercury, for RJC Members in the mining sector
There new Code of Practices also includes a new structure which the RJC says its members should find easier to navigate and more relevant of the standards to their own business.
It will also accept certification against either the 2009 or 2013 versions of the Code of Practices, to allow for the necessary transition for members with their various audit deadlines. From 2015, the new RJC Code of Practices will be in full effect.
The company has also announced reaching 300 Certified Members in 2013, accounting for more than two-thirds of its growing membership.
RJC chairman James Courage said: “The RJC is very proud of the hard work of its team, the Standards Committee and the many contributing stakeholders in working to revise and improve the Code of Practices. As the flagship standard for members, we want to ensure that it has continued relevance on emerging issues and positive impact in the jewellery supply chain.
"RJC looks forward to the ongoing support of members in achieving certification against the new COP in the coming years, and collectively demonstrating the commitment of the sector to responsible practices."
Ryan Taylor, co-chair of the RJC’s Standards Committee and chief executive of Canada’s Fair Trade Jewellery Company, Ryan Taylor, said the new 2013 Code of Practices are an important milestone for the organisation.
Taylor added: "Crafted by the industry and civil society representatives, it is an excellent example of how change can be achieved and maintained through open dialogue and collaboration."