Integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into supply chain strategy is the way forward. Ask yourself:
- Are the SDGs being integrated into your business strategy?
- Which SDGs are the main focus (materiality exercise) for business?
- What are the challenges of incorporating the SDGs into business strategy, the level of communication and measurement on SDG impacts?
If you act responsibly, you will find opportunity. RJC members play a key role in advancing the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These opportunities range from having a safe working environment (SDG3), promoting gender equality in the workplace (SDG5), decent work and economic growth (SDG8) and developing circular economy models (SDG9).
We need more than ever inclusive leadership. Big companies and small enterprises must show top-level commitment and accountability to understand and assess their impacts, engage in meaningful dialogue, and to innovate their business models to develop communities on the ground. And companies need to measure – what is material to your organisation and how do you quantify progress?
Partnerships (SDG17) will achieve transformative change. The panel session closed with all panellists agreeing not to reinvent the wheel and duplicate efforts. We must co-invest in solutions to shared challenges. This means we need to work more than ever together to align efforts. This is where progress will depend – on synergies and collective action taken on the ground.
Sustainability drives financial and operational performance. Companies are realising significant cost savings through retention employees, improved health and safety conditions and environmental sustainability, related operational efficiencies and access to finance. Moreover, investors are more and more now able to track the high performers on ESG (environmental, social and governance factors) and are correlating better financial performance with better ESG performance.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING MARKS A SHARED COMMITMENT TO SCALE THE SUPPLY OF RESPONSIBLE GOLD FROM ARTISANAL SMALL-SCALE MINES TO SWITZERLAND FROM PERU, BOLIVIA AND COLOMBIA
The public-private partnership bound by the agreement will support capacity development for artisanal small-scale mine operators, bringing 5 tons of responsibly produced gold to ethical gold markets by 2020.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), the Better Gold Initiative for ASM (BGI), Max Havelaar-Foundation (Switzerland) (MHCH) for Fairtrade, and the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). By acting together, the parties are embracing the opportunity to significantly increase the volume of Artisanal Small-scale Mined (ASM) gold to the market, and thus advance the economic and social wellbeing of ASM miners and mining communities in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. The positive impact of the collaboration far exceeds that which any one organisation could achieve acting alone. The agreement recognises that greater co-operation is in the best interests of all parties, including the ASM operators.
When carried out responsibly, the potential for the ASM gold sector to be a powerful driver of community based and environmentally sound development in some of the poorest places in the world has been clearly demonstrated. A necessary step towards a socially responsible and ecologically sound industry is the legalisation/formalisation of mining operations to improve their efficiency and productivity and to meet social and environmental operating standards.
Wanting to improve the situation of ASM miners, the BGI for ASM was set up in 2013 with support from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). In a statement from SECO, Monica Rubiolo, Head of Trade Promotion, congratulated the parties’ signing of the MOU saying, “I am convinced that this is an important step towards a more strengthened collaboration in the field, which will benefit the artisanal and small-scale miners in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia.”
Collectively the parties will support the production of five (5) tons of responsibly produced gold and its entry into ‘ethical’ gold markets by 2020. The public-private partnership has developed compelling incentives for responsible ASM operators to participate in certification for at least half (2.5 tons) of the gold produced while the SBGA/BGI programme of work will support the formalisation of up to 50 artisanal mining operators.
Fabian Waldmeier, Director of International Cooperation at MCHC, working to promote Fairtrade products to the Swiss market, also commended the agreement saying, “The signing of the MOU marks an important cornerstone for our work in gold as we believe that collaboration is needed to expand the reach and hence the impact of all the different initiatives working in the ASM gold sector including ourselves.”
The agreement will enable the parties to communicate a coherent and collective vision to the “downstream” market of the importance of, and means by which, to develop responsible ASM suppliers.
Laurent Favre, SBGA President added his endorsement saying, “This agreement sets a solid basis for dialogue and collaboration both on the corporate and the field levels; a collaboration which will primarily benefit artisanal and small-scale miners, the ultimate beneficiaries of all our efforts”. Andrew Bone, Executive Director of the RJC said, “We are pleased to have signed this MoU with SBGA, the Better Gold Initiative for ASM and Max Havelaar-Foundation (Switzerland) for Fairtrade. Through this collaboration, we will work closely with these organisations to promote sustainability and ethical business practices in the jewellery supply chain. Together we can leverage each other’s knowledge and expertise regarding the challenges and issues the industry faces to instil a responsible supply chain and promote consumer confidence in the watch and fine jewellery industry. We are looking forward to a rewarding and mutually beneficial collaboration between our organisations.”
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) today announces the expansion of its material scope to include silver. As the leading standards setting and certification organisation for the fine jewellery and watch supply chain, this expansion adds another key sector to the RJC’s remit, helping the Council to widen its authority and reputation across the industry.
The expansion of the RJC into the silver supply chain comes after years working with leading companies in the precious metal supply chains, addressing issues found in the diamond, gold and platinum group metals supply chain.
Andrew Bone, Executive Director of the RJC, said, “It is a natural progression for the RJC to include the silver sector, furthering our goal to become a fully integrated jewellery supply chain initiative. The expansion allows us to use the expertise we have gathered through our longstanding work across other precious metal supply chains and will help us better support a sustainable and ethical silver industry”.
Chairman of the RJC’s Board of Directors, Wilfried Hoerner added “By extending the material scope for RJC certification, more businesses in the jewellery supply chain will now be able to confidently demonstrate their commitment to responsible business practices through certification against the RJC standards. We are really pleased to be able to welcome the silver supply chain to our growing community of confidence.”
Information relevant to the silver supply chain will be included in the RJC’s Code of Practices (COP) standard. The COP defines responsible ethical, human rights, social, and environmental practices for businesses operating in the diamond, gold and/or platinum group metals, coloured gemstones and now silver. The full integration of silver into the COP is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Achieving RJC certification offers companies a competitive edge, highlighting their commitment to the highest standards in ethical and sustainable practices.
The Responsible Jewellery Council today announces the launch of its 2017 Chain of Custody Standard (CoC). This follows a review initiated in August 2016, involving three rounds of public consultation, input from over 150 industry and non-industry stakeholders, and contributions through webinars, workshops and meetings.
The CoC standard was launched in 2012 as a voluntary standard for creating a chain of custody for precious metals that are responsibly produced, processed and traded through jewellery supply chains, and that are third party assured at every stage. The 2017 version continues to do this, and now includes clarifications and improvements on due diligence, eligibility of CoC material and harmonisation with other standards.
Revised due diligence requirements have been developed, and the CoC Guidance document has substantial new sections. These changes bring the CoC into alignment with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas for gold and platinum group metals. Important clarifications have been made to the criteria on eligibility of CoC material to make it more practical for today’s supply chains, for example, on how to source eligible e-waste.
The RJC continues to prioritise efforts to reduce audit duplication and the standard now includes a process for sourcing eligible mined material from recognised third-party mining standards and schemes. This currently includes the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) ‘Towards Sustainable Mining’ (TSM) programme and the International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) sustainable development framework. The promotion of sourcing from responsible artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) remains a hallmark of the CoC. The recognition of the Fairmined Gold Standard is complemented by recognition of the Fairtrade Standard for Gold from Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining.
Anne-Marie Fleury, Director of Standards and Impacts at the RJC says, “After an insightful research and consultation process, we are immensely pleased to present the new 2017 CoC Standard. By updating the Standard, we are further precipitating the growth and reputation of the RJC as we navigate the changes and challenges facing the gold and platinum group metal supply chains. We are deeply grateful to our Standards Committee for their time, expertise and guidance in revising the standard”
Certification against the new standard will begin from 1 April 2018. RJC members due for CoC re-certification in 2018 will have the option to get re-certified against either the 2012 CoC or the 2017 CoC. Following this grace period, all members due for CoC re-certification will be certified against the 2017 CoC. Members that join the RJC from 1 April 2018, must use the 2017 version of the CoC Standard.