Global gemstone and jewellery brands commission Tetbury company to build sustainability resource platform

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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) have launched the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform, uniting gemstone and jewellery brands through shared commitments for people and planet.

The Platform, developed by Tetbury-based 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 dozens of 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 provides steps to take towards improved sustainability practices, at the user’s own pace. The Platform also features a community section 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 Guidance represents 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, said: “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.”

Caroline Scheufele, Chopard Co-President and Artistic Director, said: “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.”

Jack Cunningham, Sustainability, Policy & Risk Director, Gemfields, added: “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.

Geraldine Vallejo, Sustainability Programme Director at Kering, said: “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.”

Hélène VALADE, Environmental Development Director, LVMH, said: “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.”

TDI Sustainability is an international consulting firm working with companies in the luxury, electronics, automotive and energy industries along the entire value chain, from mine to market, to build responsible supply chains that work for people, business, and the planet. Through its sister organisation The Impact Facility, TDI works directly with artisanal and small-scale mining communities, to provide them with access to the technical assistance, markets, capital, and equipment that enable the building of diverse local economies through viable and thriving small- and medium-sized businesses.