The Board of Directors of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has approved the first edition of the Responsible Sourcing Book, which provides a framework and guidance for due diligence related to the responsible sourcing of gemstones and precious metals in the jewellery sector.
It becomes the latest in CIBJO's Blue Book series of definitive industry guides for standards and nomenclature, joining the Blue Books for diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls, precious coral, precious metals and gemological laboratories.
The new Responsible Sourcing Book is the product of a year-long project, which included the creation of the CIBJO Responsible Sourcing Commission and a policy document that was presented at the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogotá in November. Before its release, it was subject to a rigorous internal and external review process that included experts both from the jewellery sector and the international community.
Recommending guidelines and procedures by which participants in the jewellery supply chain may undertake supply-chain due diligence to support responsible sourcing, the Responsible Sourcing Book is designed to serve as guidance for ethical business practices and supply-chain due-diligence systems in the jewellery sector. It is not a definitive code of practice in and of itself and cannot be described or interpreted as a compliance mechanism or chain of custody.
Referencing the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, the Responsible Sourcing Book insists on compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the World Diamond Council's System of Warranties for diamonds, and supports the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
It recommends that all participants in the industry have a responsible sourcing policy in place, and undertake due diligence on their supply chains to the best of their ability, to identify, assess and mitigate any identifiable risks in the jewellery supply chain related to human rights, labour practices, money laundering, financing of confict and corruption.
To ensure product integrity, the Blue Book calls for precious metals and gem materials and products to be correctly represented and disclosed through their supply chains in accordance with the CIBJO Retailers' Reference Guide or the relevant CIBJO Blue Books, and recommends that grading reports and other types of product-verification be provided as well.
"The philosophy that guided us in the creation of the Responsible Sourcing Book is that all participants in the jewellery business have a duty of care, and thus should conduct supply-chain due diligence to the best of their ability," explained CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri.
He added, ”And while we support the principle of having responsible practices being verified and certified by standards and certification bodies which are referred to in the CIBJO guidance, we also recognise that, at any particular point in time, not every company has the capacity to do so. The new Blue Book provides a set of universal guidelines that enable all members of the industry to demonstrate that they are actively involved in defending the integrity of the supply chain, and that they strive to improve these efforts on a continuous basis."
Cavalieri went on to say, “The Responsible Sourcing Book is intended to provide an essential structure for supply-chain due diligence in the jewellery business, in accordance with accepted practice and standards in the international community. How individual companies choose to apply the standards and guidelines provided is up to them. Like all CIBJO Blue Books, it is a living document, which will be reviewed on a continuing basis, and amended and updated when necessary."