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The Responsible Jewelery Council (RJC) aims to certify the best practices of companies involved in the gold or diamond supply chain. A company that joins the RJC initiative must be certified by the RJC within two years of joining. The company commits to implementing and promoting responsible practices in the areas of ethics, environment and working conditions. Created in 2005, the organization has nearly 450 members, 310 of whom are certified. In the long run, the risk for a non-certified company is to be excluded from the market.

What's at stake in the JCR?

The challenge of this certification is all the more important at a time when sustainable development is becoming widespread and taking on considerable importance. In the jewelry, jewelry and watchmaking sectors, misleading communication on the titling of gold or diamonds is a scourge that must be avoided. RJC certification, which remains a voluntary process, allows a company to position itself on its market as an actor respecting an ethical and social code. It also shows that the raw materials it works with or obtains are produced using methods that respect people and the environment. Indeed, it seems that this certification, despite its young age, has become a must in these three sectors and, even, a determining criterion. The certified company claims a real transparency in its supply chain.

How is SGS involved in the certification process?

SGS is a multinational company founded in 1878 in Switzerland. It offers services in the fields of control, verification, analysis and certification. SGS acts as an auditor in the certification process. Since its accreditation by the RJC in 2010, the company assesses the compliance of a company with the requirements of the code of practice. When the results of the audit are positive, SGS submits a letter of recommendation to the RJC, usually leading to the certification of the audited RJC member. Specifically, the assessment covers business ethics, human rights and working conditions, environmental performance, supplier and subcontractor management, and, for larger companies, the management system in place in each of these areas.

By becoming a member of the RJC, companies undertake a significant amount of self-assessment and formalization of best practices. The company only contacts the auditor once it is ready to meet the requirements of the RJC. A normal certification cycle is three years, so there is regular renewal.

The code of good practice

The code of good practice is evolving, adapting to demands and needs. This code of good practice is divided into six main sections and includes 42 provisions that constitute the different chapters: 

General requirements

1. Legal Compliance 2. Policy and Implementation 3. Reporting 4. Financial Accounts

Responsible supply chains, human rights and due diligence

5. Business Partners 6. Human Rights 7. Due diligence for responsible sourcing from conflict or high risk areas 8. Direct sourcing from artisanal and small-scale mining operations 9. Sourcing recycled industrial precious metals directly from informal recyclers 10. Community development 11. Know Your Customer (KYC): money laundering and terrorist financing 13. Security 14. Proof of origin

Workers' rights and working conditions

15. General working conditions 16. Hours of work 17. Compensation 18. Harassment, discipline, grievance procedures and non-retaliation 19. Child labor 20. Forced labor 21. Freedom of association and collective bargaining 22. Non-discrimination

Health, safety and environment

23. Health and Safety 24. Environmental Management 25. Hazardous Substances 26. Waste and emissions 27. Use of natural resources

Articles containing gold, silver, platinum metals, diamonds and colored stones

28. Product Information 29. Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and World Diamond Council System of Warranties 30. Grading, analysis and valuation

Responsible mining activity

31. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative 32. Stakeholder Engagement 33. Indigenous Peoples and Free, Prior and Informed Consent 34. Impact Assessment 35. Artisanal, small-scale and large-scale mining 36. Relocation 37. Emergency Response 38. Biodiversity 39. Tailings and Waste Rock Disposal 40. Cyanide 41. Mercury 42. Mine Rehabilitation and Closure

As a whole, the Code of Good Practice can be applied by any company, in any country, working at any stage of the jewelry supply chain.

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