By Wade Abel, CG, Director of Gemological Services, AGS Laboratories
What is the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and why is it important for AGS Laboratories to be a Certified Member with the RJC?
The jewelry industry has had its fair share of ups and downs. Organizations like the American Gem Society (AGS) help promote ethics and consumer protection. Another industry organization that works to uphold important standards in the industry is the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). AGS and AGS Laboratories are aligned with the RJC both in consumer protection and ethics, as well as promoting responsible business practices.
The following is from the RJC website, explaining what they do and how it helps the industry.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is the world’s leading standard-setting organization for the jewelry and watch industry. It was founded in 2005 by 14 member organizations.
The RJC Code of Practices (COP) is the global standard for the responsible jewelry and watch industry, focusing on business ethics and responsible supply chains. Our COP covers all the primary minerals and metals used in the manufacture of jewelry: gold, silver, platinum group metals, diamonds, and colored gemstones. Our robust certification process is independently audited and ISEAL accredited, upholding the highest standards.
[The] Code of Practices standard is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This provides our members with a solid foundation to continue their journey of transformation in the supply chain. In 2019, the RJC and UN Global Compact became strategic partners with a shared goal to educate and build an action platform on the implementation of the SDGs (Created to Lead Change and Build Trust, n.d.).
AGS Laboratories has been an RJC Certified Member since 2016 and we are currently preparing for our next audit to retain our membership certification from the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). This audit will be conducted in the second quarter of this year. Part of our preparations include performing a risk assessment to identify possible risks and identify what we have in place to mitigate those risks. Another preparation step is self-assessment. Using the RJC’s Code of Practices (COP) 2019, we are in the process of conducting a self-audit to ensure that we have everything in place to be sure we are compliant. These steps are integral in retaining this designation and provide a guideline to work from to improve and solidify our processes and protocols.
The RJC Certification assures that the certified member organization meets high standards for human rights, labor rights, environmental impact, mining practices, product disclosure, and many more important topics in the jewelry supply chain.
This designation is very important to the Lab to reinforce our stance as a third-party, unbiased, lab that serves the diamond industry in our grading, products, and services; using these standards to uphold the assurance of ethical and responsible business practices.
In addition to your AGS membership, certification with RJC can help elevate your business in the jewelry industry and increase trust and confidence in responsible business practices and ethics.