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 in 2005. At 31 March 2018, the RJC counted more than 1’100 corporate members (2017: 979), including all of Richemont’s Maisons which make products containing diamonds and gold, and a significant number of their suppliers. Representatives from certain Maisons serve as unpaid officers of the RJC.

 

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. 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 the
  • Responsible Mining Sector.

Certification helps to strengthen responsible business practices and 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 CoP certifications of all other relevant Maisons have been confirmed. Currently, Richemont’s refinery in Switzerland is the only Group entity which has been both CoP- and CoC-certified. 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 more than 90 % by 2016/17.

Maison or Independent Manufacturing Entity Financial year of first RJC certification Cumulative percentage of Group sales represented by certified entities
Cartier, Baume & Mercier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Richemont’s refinery in Switzerland 2010/11, 2011/12 More than 75 %
IWC Schaffhausen, Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier, Officine Panerai 2012/13,
2013/2014
More than 85 %
A. Lange & Söhne, Donzé-Baume, Roger Dubuis, Giampiero Bodino 2014/2015,
2015/16
More than 90 %
ProCadrans 2016/17 More than 90 %*

* The Group’s fashion and accessories businesses are not qualified to join the RJC as they do not manufacture or distribute products containing gold or diamonds. These businesses include Alfred Dunhill, Chloé, and Peter Millar.

Linked to Richemont’s support of the RJC, in recent years it has collaborated with the Graduate Institute on two published studies: (i) RJC’s supply chain for coloured gemstones, specifically emeralds, rubies and sapphires; and (ii) The obstacles to certification faced by small and mid-sized enterprises.

 

The RJC Chain of Custody

The source of certain raw materials can be controversial, for example gold and diamonds. Accordingly, a number of projects were initiated by industry groups to improve transparency in general and the sourcing decisions of manufacturers in particular. Among those projects was the RJC’s 2012 Gold Chain of Custody (‘CoC’) standard applicable to gold and platinum group metals. The RJC standard is aligned with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and its Supplement on Gold.

A list of CoC-certified members is maintained on the RJC website.

During the year under review, the previous CoC was revised and re-issued in December 2017 as part of a scheduled plan. That plan reflects best practices and is required, on a periodic basis, by ISEAL Alliance standard-setters. As a long-term supporter of the RJC, Richemont actively participated in that revision process during the calendar years 2016 and 2017.

 

The RJC’s year

During the year under review, the RJC has recruited more than 100 new corporate members. Cumulatively, the overwhelming majority of members have been certified against the Code of Practices. Together, they directly employ some 400 000 people, from the USA to China and from Switzerland to India. Some other of RJC’s achievements have included:

  • Issuance of a revised Chain of Custody standard for gold
  • Material scope expansion to coloured gemstones, which will be incorporated to the Code of Practices during the current review period
  • New Executive Committee members, including the Chair, the Vice-Chair and the Honorary Secretary

More detailed information can be found in the most recent RJC Annual Progress Report.