Tetbury business is behind new sustainability platform for international gemstones market

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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 the Tetbury-based sustainability consulting firm TDI Sustainability together with and thanks to funding from the CGWG, is an open 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 which 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!”

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.”

Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tiffany & Co,added: “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.”