The Responsible Jewellery Council (‘RJC’) was established in 2005 to promote responsible ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices throughout the gold and diamond supply chains. It was built on the belief that these issues can be best addressed as a collaborative effort.

Richemont plays an active role in the RJC. Cartier was one of the 14 founding members and today the RJC has grown to include some 500 members, including all of Richemont’s Maisons which produce or distribute products containing diamonds and gold, and a growing number of their suppliers. Representatives from certain Maisons serve as unpaid officers of the RJC.

Code of Practices

The RJC has developed a Code of Practices, based on established international principles, which sets out requirements against which members must be certified. The scope of the Code of Practices captures:

  • General Requirements;
  • Responsible Supply Chains & Human Rights;
  • Labour Rights & Working Conditions;
  • Health, Safety & Environment;
  • Diamonds, Gold & Platinum Group Metal Products; and
  • Responsible Mining Sector.

The RJC Code of Practices System

The Council has developed the RJC Code of Practices System, a certification system applicable to all members’ businesses that contribute to the gold and diamond jewellery supply chain. Certification will help to strengthen the reputation of members as well as the reputations of members’ suppliers, customers and business partners. Under the RJC System, all commercial members of the RJC must be audited by accredited, third party auditors to verify compliance with the Code of Practices.

In 2010, Cartier was the first retailer to receive certification under the RJC system. The certifications of many other Maisons have been confirmed. As a percentage of Group sales, the proportion of Richemont’s businesses which have been audited regarding these non-financial criteria has therefore increased from zero in 2009/10, to over 90 % in 2013/14. Further details are provided here.

In the year under review, in collaboration with the Graduate Institute of Geneva, Richemont sponsored the RJC’s study of the supply chain for coloured gemstones, specifically emeralds, rubies and sapphires. A copy of that study may be found on the RJC’s website.

The RJC’s year

During the year under review, in addition to recruiting a further 66 new members and certifying a further 77 existing members’ compliance with its initial Code of Practices, the RJC’s achievements included:

  • Reviewing its Code of Practices, resulting in a set of revisions that emphasise the RJC’s comprehensive approach to CSR issues from mine to retail and the growing importance of responsible supply chains;
  • Continuing to work on further development and implementation of a harmonisation programme with the London Bullion Market Association, the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative, the Dubai Multi Commodity Centre and the Fairtrade and Fairmined standards;
  • Signing in 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU’) with CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, to entrench a solid understanding and commitment from the jewellery industry in the areas of human rights, social and environmental performance and ethical business practice;
  • Commencing in September a new engagement focus with the Indian industry which aims to increase support, awareness and implementation for RJC programmes;
  • Increasing its membership from 404 to 470 businesses.

These various achievements underscore the RJC’s established position across the jewellery industry.

Looking ahead

The remaining certifications are expected to take the proportion of certifications to over 90 % of total Group sales, and 100 % of sales by those Maisons which produce or distribute products containing diamonds or gold.

In the year ahead, in collaboration with the Graduate Institute of Geneva, Richemont will sponsor the RJC’s study of the obstacles facing small and medium sized enterprises in achieving RJC certification. A copy of that study will be made available on the RJC’s website in January 2015.