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Diamond Industry Organizations: Responsible Jewellery Council

Diamond Industry Organizations: Responsible Jewellery Council

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is an international not-for-profit organization promoting responsible, ethical, human rights, social, and environmental practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the jewelry industry, from mine to retail.

Understanding the need to create a set of standards for the jewelry industry at large, a group of 14 companies from all aspects of the diamond and gold jewelry business joined forces to establish the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices in 2005.

Among the founding members were miners such as De Beers, BHP Billiton, and Rio Tinto, diamond manufacturers such as Rosy Blue and Diarough, high and mid-range jewelry retailers, including Cartier, Signet Group,Tiffany & Co., banking group ABN AMRO and a number of industry organizations, among them World Jewellery Confederation, Jewelers of America, and the National Association of Goldsmiths (UK).

In 2008, the organization was renamed Responsible Jewellery Council. In 2012, RJC became a full member of the ISEAL Alliance, the global association for sustainability standards.

The RJC, as a whole supply chain standards initiative for the jewelry supply chain, is unique in the participation of organizations at every step in the value chain, each bringing a commitment to a responsible supply chain and implementation of responsible business practices.

At the core of its activities, RJC developed a standards certification system that ensures that the activities and conduct of the certified companies are ethical, environmentally sound, and of course, responsible. Responsible towards society, the communities in which they are active, their employees, and the environment as a whole.

RJC formed two main standards, the Code of Practices and the Chain of Custody Standard. The Code of Practices defines responsible ethical, human rights, social, and environmental practices, applicable to all RJC Members throughout the diamond, gold, and platinum group metals jewelry supply chain. The standard is revised based on experience and emerging good practices.

A central goal of the Code of Practices Certification process is to result in improvements to RJC members’ management systems and business practices, leading to improvements to their own social and environmental performance, and providing assurance to stakeholders that responsible business practices are being followed.

These outcomes will have a beneficial effect on underlying social, human rights, ethical and environmental conditions found within the jewelry supply chain in general, providing positive impacts for workers, communities, business partners, the environment and broader stakeholders.

The RJC Code of Practices Certification provides members evidence of their responsible business practices. These can be communicated to suppliers, customers and other stakeholders through the use of the RJC certified member logo, RJC Certificate itself, the members’ webpage with their certification details, and being on the RJC Certified member list. Through this, another goal RJC aims to achieve with this process is for certified members to become role models that demonstrate and promote responsible practices to other supply chain participants.

Certification under the RJC Code of Practices is compulsory for all RJC Commercial members within two years of joining RJC. Each RJC member’s certification status can be found on the member’s unique webpage.

The Chain of Custody standard and certification aims to support claims for responsible sourced jewelry materials, produced, processed and traded through the supply chain. The standard requires companies to have policy and risk management frameworks for conflict-sensitive sourcing practices, drawing on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict Affected and High-Risk Areas. It also sets RJC’s requirements for confirming the eligibility of Chain of Custody materials and material its segregation and transfer.

In 2012, RJC introduced a Chain of Custody standard for precious metals (gold, platinum, palladium, and rhodium). It offers an RJC certification that can be granted at the facility level, achieved through independent, third-party auditing against the RJC Chain-of-Custody Standard.

The Chain of Custody precious metals ensures that the materials are mined through responsible mining practices and conflict-free as demonstrated by due diligence; and that recycled materials are sourced from suppliers screened according to Know Your Customer requirements to avoid illegitimate sources.

Currently, more than 800 companies are certified members of RJC, meaning that they have successfully undergone and passed an independent, third-party audit to show that their business practices at all facilities within their certification scope conform to the RJC’s Code of Practices or the Chain of Custody Standard. 



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