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Top gemstone and jewellery brands launch a free sustainability resource platform for the industry

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LONDON: World-leading jewellery makers Chopard, Kering, LVMH, Richemont, Swarovski and Tiffany & Co. (now part of the LVMH Group) and coloured gemstone mining companies Gemfields and Muzo (together, the Coloured Gemstones Working Group or CGWG) announce the launch of the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform, uniting gemstone and jewellery brands through shared commitments for people and planet.

After 5 years of collaboration, the Coloured Gemstones Working Group (CGWG) announced today the launch of the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform. The Platform, developed by sustainability consulting firm TDI Sustainability together with and thanks to funding from the CGWG, is an open and available resource centre for the entire gemstone and jewellery industry, a unique capability building initiative to catalyse positive change for the sector, from within.

The Platform is freely available to all companies who are part of the gemstone and jewellery industry, from mining through to cutting and polishing, trading and retailing. Centred around ten sustainability commitments for responsible sourcing and production, it provides free learning resources and capability building, which businesses can use to learn more about 40+ sustainability topics relevant for the coloured gemstone sector, from responsible sourcing and due diligence, to human rights and labour rights, and environmental protection. The Platform also includes self-assessment tools that enable a deeper understanding of a business’s areas of excellence and improvement; and provide steps to take towards improved sustainability practices, at the user’s own pace. The Platform also features a community section, with the goal to promote collaboration between businesses and their suppliers, customers and other partners, through the sharing of information and continuous engagement.

The CGWG has been collaborating with industry bodies and associations including the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the reference leading standard and certification system for the  global watch and jewellery industry, and the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) as well as other partners such as GemCloud, in an effort to contribute to the harmonisation of responsible sourcing and production expectations, and promotes the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (OECD Guidance).

In the context of coloured gemstones, which are often mined in remote areas by artisanal and small-scale miners and traded on the other side of the world in international trading centres, responsible sourcing is particularly complex. In line with the principles of engagement and collaboration, the Platform features, among other tools, a digital, open-access and step-by-step due diligence tool, which all businesses can use to do their own part towards building a transparent and traceable supply chain.

The announcement comes on the occasion of the 14th Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), bringing together representatives from government, business and civil society to share best practices and learnings on responsible sourcing and due diligence. The OECD has been at the forefront of the due diligence movement for the past decade. In particular, the OECD Guidance represents today the best practice framework for businesses to identify, assess and manage potential risks associated with the extraction, trade and handling of minerals.

Dr. Assheton Stewart Carter, CEO of TDI Sustainability, the advisory firm that provides technical support to the CGWG, says, “Our objective is to democratise sustainability, so it is accessible to even the smallest businesses and the individual crafts person. By providing access to knowledge, we can take a step towards transforming the lives and livelihoods of people working across the coloured gemstone supply chain.”

“We started our Journey to Sustainable Luxury in 2013 with the hope of introducing new practices in the procurement of raw materials used in our industry. Thanks to this initiative, Chopard has succeeded in sourcing responsibly mined coloured stones for various creations. However, there is still a long way to go to improve sustainable practices in the field of coloured stones. The work undertaken through the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform is making progress in this regard and we are delighted to be involving our Maison in these endeavours.”Caroline Scheufele, Chopard Co-President and Artistic Director

“Since launching in 2009, Gemfields has championed responsibility across the coloured gemstone sector. In this pursuit, we focus on three values above all else: transparency, legitimacy and integrity. In practice, this means continuously addressing the impacts of our own mining activities, but also supporting the downstream industry’s own sustainability journey. As a proud founding member of the CGWG since 2015 we have contributed our time, expertise and lessons learned, whether through the first ever ESG audits of the downstream industry or investing in physical traceability technology and blockchain platforms. The CGWG is a fantastic example of a valuable and collaborative industry partnership, and launching the GJCP is the culmination of a lot of hard work. Responsible sourcing is not a destination but a journey, and we hope that many feel inspired to utilise the GJCP to take their first steps!”

Jack Cunningham, Sustainability, Policy & Risk Director, Gemfields said, “Collaboration is key in moving forward traceability and transparency so it is wonderful to see how top luxury brands and mining gemstones companies join forces within the CGWG framework to tackle those challenges. For Kering, sustainability is inherent to Luxury and we feel like it is our responsibility, as a leader in our field, to drive positive change within the coloured gemstones supply chains. After the external launch of the Kering Standards for raw materials and manufacturing processes in 2018, this project is one more stone added to our path towards building knowledge and capacity on sustainable sourcing. We hope the concrete nature of the CGWC Community platform and the tools it offers will support the colored gemstones industry in its journey towards sustainability.” Geraldine Vallejo, Sustainability Programme Director, Kering

“The beauty of a gem no longer depends simply on its colour, cut, clarity, and carat, but relies also on the stone’s story and the conditions in which it was extracted and transformed. LVMH and its Maisons believe that offering jewellery mounted with responsibly-sourced gemstones is a duty that we share with all our stakeholders. Only through collaboration such as within the CGWG can we bring about true and long-lasting change in the sector and add a stone to the legacy of responsible mineral sourcing.” Hélène VALADE, Environmental Development Director, LVMH

“The Muzo Companies has been a leader in sustainability and traceability efforts in the colored gemstone trade since our inception. Through our mine-to-market business model, we witness firsthand the ability for responsible and ethical sourcing practices to improve the lives of thousands in our operating areas while meeting the highest client and market standards. The CGWG has been a great opportunity for Muzo to partner with fellow members to advance positive change in the industry. With the launch of the GJCP, Muzo is pleased to be part of an initiative that opens the pathway of sustainable and responsible sourcing for the wider industry.” Charles C. Burgess, President & CEO, The Muzo Companies Colombia

“As we believe in the power of industry collaboration to tackle responsible supply chain challenges, Richemont, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and other actors of the industry co-founded the Coloured Gemstones Working Group (CGWG) to tackle the challenges of this complex industry and develop the first coloured gemstones supply chain responsible practices tool set. With rubies, sapphires and emeralds being incorporated in the RJC Code of Practices in 2019, the tools, research and platform developed by the CGWG will be key for the Group and its suppliers to progress on our due diligence efforts towards improved traceability and transparency in our supply chains. The launch of the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform is a milestone in the industry’s responsible journey and we encourage all our suppliers and actors of the value chain to join the community and leverage its tools.” Matthew Kilgarriff, Director Corporate Social Responsibility, Richemont International SA

“In order to meet today’s global challenges, there is a need for partnerships between individuals, companies and organizations to collectively find solutions to the most compelling sustainability issues. We are committed to systemic change in the jewelry industry and more widely. Being part of the Coloured Gemstones Working Group supports our endeavours to promote best practices in the colored gemstones supply chain.” Matthias Krismer, Procurement Manager, Swarovski

“At Tiffany & Co., we have long been committed to sourcing in a socially and environmentally-responsible manner. We also recognize that collaboration can drive transparency and positive change within the jewelry sector. Tiffany & Co. is proud to be a founding member of the Coloured Gemstone Working Group and to launch the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform, which makes available resources for the entire gemstones and jewelry industry, an advancement towards a more transparent and responsible colored gemstone supply chain.”

Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tiffany & Co.

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service

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