Jewelry Industry Moves Toward More Sustainable and Ethical Supply Chains
In 1998, the United Nations voted to ban the purchase of blood diamonds from Angola. Since then, the public has become increasingly aware about raw materials whose sale fuels civil conflict, and has shifted focus to other mineral extractions that may be used to fund wars and armed conflict in other African countries and other nations. Today, “conflict minerals” encompasses four key raw materials (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold) that are extensively used in all sorts of products – from mobile phones, computers, electronics, automobiles and more.
Now, the jewelry industry has forged ahead with recent efforts to ensure gemstones and other jewelry products are sustainably sourced. Before the American Gem Trade Association’s annual conference kicks off in Tucson, hundreds of jewelers and others will gather on Jan. 29-30 for their second “Jewelry Industry Summit” to advance efforts for ethical sourcing of gemstones and to improve sustainability in the gem supply trade.
Source Intelligence, the global leader for responsible sourcing and supply chain management, will attend this year’s summit to share its knowledge and further assist the jewelry industry in achieving its goals for ethical sourcing.
In its first summit in 2016, jewelers agreed to many of the same goals that other industries seek when it comes to sustainability and ethical sourcing. For instance, they sought:
- To procure materials in a way that protects the environment
- To ensure its activities help promote the growth and well-being of local communities where materials are sourced and traded
- To promote supply chain transparency
- To adhere to standards that protect human rights and prevent modern-day slavery.
The jewelry industry’s effort mirrors the more-publicized concerns of the fashion world. Consumers are increasingly becoming more conscious about whether their clothes and accessories involve slave labor or harm to the environment. However, the jewelry industry faces additional challenges because the supply chain consists of many independent businesses that don’t have the resources to trace and verify the source of their gold and gemstones.
As Source Intelligence has pointed out in whitepapers and articles, companies large and small can follow some simple steps to reduce supply chain risk. This includes adopting the due diligence protocols and reporting guidelines that govern disclosure of conflict minerals under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The steps and commitments required under Dodd-Frank will often help companies establish goals, policies and plans that can govern how other source materials are tracked and verified. Another tactic is to insist on suppliers filing their compliance information in a central portal for multiple regulations; this not only reduces inefficiencies but allows for easy access and reporting for many regulations and products. Source Intelligence operates the world’s largest supplier database and communicates with suppliers 24/7 basis to help companies meet a range of regulations. Source Intelligence also works with multiple organizations that independently verify conflict-free raw materials. To learn how a technology solution can help you identify and mitigate supply chain risk, click here.