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ethical jewellery - who is who


Industry Initiatives / NGOs  –  Ethical Jewellery / Fairtrade / fair trade


The jewellery industry is not short of initiatives addressing issues of corporate social responsibility.

The result is a complex web of sometimes complimentary, sometimes conflicting, and often overlapping schemes, each with their own priorities, timescales, and ultimate objectives.

The diamond industry led the way 10 years ago, introducing the Kimberley Process to eradicate conflict diamonds. Today KP faces much criticism for its weak enforcement, fake certificates and the re-admission of Zimbabwe into the scheme.

Gold followed suit with its No Dirty Gold Campaign. The Responsible Jewellery Council is signing up big jewellery brands and Fairtrade Foundation launched the world’s first third party certified, fully traceable gold supply chain this February.

There are a number of initiatives in development that will offer either a chain of custody or a system of warranties that will provide assurances that members can pass on to customers about the ethical credentials of their products, but these do have fairly long gestation periods. Meanwhile retailers’ demand for such goods grows. This is amply demonstrated by this year’s launch of Fairtrade  and Faimined Gold, which has met with considerable demand.

The introduction of certified Fair Trade Fair Mined gold, as well as other gold producers who have established ‘Best Practice’ for both social and environmental standards demonstrate the shift among the industry towards transparency, traceability and social responsibility in mining.

The World Gold Council have, this month (June 2011), published their draft standards for ‘Chain Of Custody’ of newly mined gold in the formal sector and this is expected to go some way to increasing a system of transparency and accountability. The RJC is also consulting until the end of August 2011 towards its own Chain of Custody Standards, due for release in early 2013.

Above: party quoted from the ethical jewellery educational material entitled The Red & Green Book:  http://blog.gregvalerio.com/tag/red-green-book/

this document is very much work in progress - updates to follow (one day)


Alliance for Responsible Mining


ARM is an independent global, pioneering initiative established in 2004 to enhance equity and well being in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities through improved
social, environmental and labour practises, good governance and the implementation of ecosystem restoration practices.

ARM partnered with the Fairtrade Foundation to bring Fairtrade certified metals from small-scale artisan mines into mainstream use.


Artisan Small-Scale Mining

A development initiative which has been given support from the World Bank.


British Jewellers’ Association


The British Jewellers’ Association has joint forces with the National Association of Goldsmiths to form a an Ethics Working Committee to assist members in achieving ethical supply chains.

The NAG & BJA‘s ethics working committee will assess the feasibility of a system of auditable standards covering the following areas:

  • Mining
  • Metals
  • Diamonds
  • Gemstones
  • Manufacturing
  • Retailing


Catholic Agency for Overseas Development


The main charity in the UK campaigning for fair mining.  Good information on Fairtrade artisanal mining and large scale mining associated issues on the CAFOD website.





Canada has become the third largest supplier of gem quality diamonds in the world, and now produces more diamonds, by value, than South Africa.
CanadaMark™ is an origin hallmark, signifying that the polished diamond is of true Canadian origin. CanadaMark™ diamonds are individually tracked and guaranteed to be natural and untreated. 
Each CanadaMark diamond is laser engraved with a unique serial number and primary brand logo on the girdle of the diamond. It is also accompanied with the CanadaMark certificate of origin.
The brand belongs to the BHP Billiton group of companies, the major share holders of the Ekati mines of Canada.
Today there are also many cases of misleading certificates of Canadian origin in circulation too. These stones are often not of Canadian origin and the certificates are created by vendors and not by the miners or local government. To ensure that a stone is truly CanadaMark , customers can use the online verification page and enter the unique serial number for details.
see also Forevermark


Communities and Small-Scale Mining Secretariat


Network which is working toward reducing poverty in developing countries by improving the environmental, social and economic achievements of small-scale mining communities.


The World Jewellery Confederation


An umbrella organisation for international jewellery trade organisations.

CRED Foundation


UK charity committed to fighting for Fair Trade Gold: social & financial benefits for small scale miners and their communities, with a guarantee of environmental sustainability. Sister organization of Cred Jewellery and Cred Sources, supplier of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold as well as fairly mined and traceable gemstones.


Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices

now renamed Responsible Jewellery Council. See RJC.

Diamond Development Initiative


To further assist artisanal diamond diggers in some of the former conflict areas the jewellery industry has established the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) – a collaboration between many of the major diamond mines, the NGOs and major players in the jewellery industry  to address the political, social and economic problems that face communities in artisanal diamond production regions.

Dodd-Frank Act


Efforts to end the current violent and corrupt system in the Congo have gained momentum following passage of ground-breaking U.S. legislation, Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law in July 2010.

The provision in the  Act require companies to trace and audit their supply chains on the source and chain of custody of the 3Ts and gold in their products

Since passage of the legislation, electronics companies, regional governments, and international organizations have accelerated efforts to reform their supply chains, attempting to trace minerals from mine sites to exports, developing audit protocols for smelters, and putting pen to paper on a regional certification plan for the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Although positive steps in the right direction, these many efforts
remain rife with loopholes.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued draft regulations for this law in December 2010, which would include 6,000 companies reporting under the law, according to the SEC, and the U.S. State Department issued a strategy on conflict minerals in March 2011.

Canada is also pursuing due diligence legislation that would require companies to trace their supply chains, and Europe is in the process of developing similar legislation.

These and other initiatives are important first steps in the trace, audit, and certification process necessary to end the trade in conflict minerals that are fueling mass atrocities in Congo.

While there are no penalties for non-compliance, the disclosures must be made public  on companies' websites, and firms continuing to source in "conflict minerals" face significant reputational damage.

Major NGO in US relating to D-F Act: Global Witness, Enough Project.



EARTHWORKS is a non-profit campaigning organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral development, in the U.S. and worldwide.

Responsible for Bristol Bay and No Dirty Gold campaign including Golden Rules.

Ethical Metalsmiths


A collaboration of small sized designers and manufacturers who uses ethical jewellery practices. The values of the group include social responsibility, a healthy environment and bringing responsibly sourced materials into the mainstream.


Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative


Aims to make government officials and mining companies (both state- and privately-owned) accountable to the public, especially with regards to revenue and taxation.

Fairtrade Foundation


The Fairtrade Foundation in collaboration with ARM have brought to market the world’s first fully traceable and third party certified Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold.

The certification allows traceability and transparency down the supply chain from small scale miners to the end consumer. The certification ensures that

  • miners receive a fair price for their gold, the


  • gold is produced under safe and environmentally responsible conditions and


  • does not contribute to conflict or violence.

Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold was initially launched in the UK in 2011 and will be rolled out to other countries with a long term vision of capturing 5% of the gold jewellery market over a 15-year period.
As of June 2011,  9 mines in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are certified. More mining organisations from Latin America are expected to join the system in 2011. Work with miners in Africa and Asia to bring them into the system from 2012 has also begun. The scope of the work only covers ASM miners, rather than medium or large-scale industrial mining, because this is where Fairtrade and Fairmined certification could have the most impact. Other initiatives support improvements in large-scale mining such as the Responsible Jewellery Council.
Currently, 28 pioneering jewellers in the UK are licenced with nearly 100 on the waiting list.

The gold for my first collection in Fairtrade and Fairmined Ecological Gold comes from Oro Verde in Columbia - a collective of community, sustainability and environmental  groups from the Choco bioregion of  Colombia.


Fair Jewellery Action


A Human Rights and Environmental Justice Network within the jewellery sector.

FJA promotes ethical and fair trade jewellery business by advocating traceability and transparency in the jewellery supply chain.  

FJA’s objective is to direct more of the economic impact of the jewellery sector toward the regenerating of local economies in small-scale artisan producer communities, supporting of cultural integrity and environmental sustainability.

Founding members are Greg Valerio (UK) and Mark Choyt (USA).



Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International

Certification body for Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold.



DeBeers track and trace supply chain for diamonds.

The inscription (on the table of the diamond) is meant to show that a Forevermark diamond is genuine, natural and has not been altered or treated. The inscription consists of the Forevermark icon and an identification number, and can only be seen with a DTC Forevermark viewer.

“There are now some attempts within the industry to create a track and trace supply chain, examples being what has happened with some Canadian diamonds as well as the more bulk commodity approach adopted by the De Beers Forever Mark. This is broadly good news to those in the industry who are concerned about transparency.

The strength of this system is that it will allow mine to market traceability for ethical jewellers and consumers. The weakness is that it once again seals up the value chain in the hands of the corporate companies who have the financial clout to make this kind of system work.

It is no way benefits the small scale digger, who once again is being left out of the value chain.” Greg Valerio


Framework for Responsible Mining


A working document outlining current and future mining issues with the aim of initiating debate and discussion on improving mining standards. Collaborators include NGO’s, retailers and companies involved in mining and distributing mined products.

Global Witness


NGO striving to expose the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and international trade systems, to drive campaigns that end impunity, resource-linked conflict, and human rights and environmental abuses.  On of their campaigns focuses on conflict diamonds.

Greg Valerio


International campaigner.  Received the Observer Ethical Award for his work to make Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold a reality.

Highly informative blog.


Global Reporting Initiative



The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a network-based organization that pioneered the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework. GRI is committed to the Framework’s continuous improvement and application worldwide. GRI’s core goals include the mainstreaming of disclosure on environmental, social and governance performance.

GRI's Reporting Framework is developed through a consensus-seeking, multi-stakeholder process. Participants are drawn from global business, civil society, labor, academic and professional institutions.

The Golden Rules


Please join some of the world's leading retailers of jewelry in calling for more responsible mining. Sign on to the Golden Rules, which are social, human rights, and environmental criteria for more responsible mining of gold and other precious metals.


International Council on Mining and Metals




Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance


A multi-sector association created to develop and establish a voluntary system to independently verify compliance with environmental, human rights and social standards for mining operations. Participants include mining companies, jewellery retailers, NGOs and trade associations.


International Social and Environmental
Accreditation and Labelling Alliance


An alliance built to oversee voluntary standardisation of organisations who wish to offer ethically sourced, environmentally aware, Fair Trade goods and services to their consumers.


new – now website as of June 2011

Antwerp International Training Centre for Corporate Opportunities (ITCCO)," a UNITAR affiliated training center on corporate social responsibility supported by the UN Global Compact

The centre aims at stimulating businesses around the world to embrace Corporate Social Responsibility and adopt the principles of the UN Global Compact as a way to increase their contribution to the Millennium Development Goals. Also playing a key role in its establishment was HRD Antwerp. Starting operations with the diamond and jewelry industry, it is expected that other industries will join its efforts.

The first set of courses at Antwerp ITCCO is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2011.

Kimberley Process

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)



Government and industry initiative set up to stem the flow of conflict diamonds which are used to fund war. The Certification Scheme is the best we have despite flaws such as many fake certificates as well as giving Zimbabwean diamonds a clean bill of health.

The process was established in 2003 to prevent diamond sales from financing rebellious movements. The certification scheme aims at preventing "blood diamonds" from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. It was set up to assure consumers that by purchasing diamonds they were not financing war and human rights abuses.

In order for a country to be a participant, it must ensure that any diamond originating from the country does not finance a rebel group or other entity seeking to overthrow a UN-recognized government, that every diamond export be accompanied by a Kimberley Process certificate and that no diamond is imported from, or exported to, a non-member of the scheme. This three-step plan is a simple description of the steps taken to ensure a chain of countries that deal exclusively with non-conflict diamonds. By restricting diamond revenues to government-approved sources, the Kimberley Process is neutral towards different governments.

“But until the diamond trade is subject to mandatory, impartial monitoring, there is still no effective guarantee that all conflict diamonds will be identified and removed from the market."

Despite having all tools in place, the Scheme was failing effectively to address issues of non-compliance, smuggling, money laundering and human rights abuses in the world's  diamond fields"

Today KP faces much criticism for its weak enforcement, fake certificates and the re-admission of Zimbabwe into the scheme.

The Scheme came under further criticism from Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada in June 2010 after the Kimberley Monitor appointed to review diamond mining conditions in Zimbabwe recommended that the country be allowed to sell diamonds as conflict-free from its contested Marange diamond fields in Chiadzwa. For the first time the two NGOs jointly called for the classification of conflict diamonds to be redefined.

There is a significant, and widening, gap between how the Kimberley Process presents itself, and what it is actually achieving.

Madison Dialogue


The Madison Dialogue is a cross-sector initiative established to promote communication and information sharing among companies, civil society groups and others seeking to encourage best practices, sustainable economic development, and verified sources of responsible gold, diamonds and other minerals. Organizations, companies and individuals participate in the Madison Dialogue on a voluntary basis.


National Association of Goldsmiths


NAG and BJA are the UK’s two largest jewellery trade associations.

see above, under BJA

No Dirty Gold


Around the world, mine-affected communities, grassroots organizations, and national and international organizations are working to end dirty gold mining practices. The campaign initiated by Earthworks seeks to support these efforts and to collaborate with other like-minded organizations. 
Over 100 000 people have signed the online pledge to end dirty gold mining.

The Rappaport Group


A network of numerous international companies working to develop the diamond markets. In recent years the group has developed and supported the production of Fair Trade diamonds.


Responsible Jewellery Council


Umbrella association for various jewellery industry groups.

It aims to reinforce consumer and stakeholder confidence in diamond, gold and platinum metals jewellery products.

The Council has developed the RJC Member Certification System, a certification system – which will apply to all Members’ businesses that contribute to the diamond, gold and platinum metals jewellery supply chain. All Commercial Members of the RJC are required to be audited by accredited, third party auditors to verify their conformance with the RJC’s Code of Practices and become certified under the RJC Member Certification System.

- - -

Initially criticised for a lack of transparency and traceability as well as for excluding civil society groups. (For criticism see blog  fairjeweler.org)

Currently, a critical issue is RJC’s stance around legitimising the export of diamonds from Zimbabwe.

The introduction of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold has proofed that a certifiable, traceable and transparent gold supply chain from small scale miners to the end consumer is possible.

This fact in conjunction with the Dodd-Franks Act in the USA have ‘encouraged’ many in the industry to rethink their initial positions including the RJC and move towards a better chain of custody model.

“Interest from jewellery retailers and manufacturers in Chain-of-Custody has grown considerably as a result of the conflict minerals provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act that were passed by US Congress in 2010. Determining the origin of gold in the jewellery supply chain will be a strong focus for companies affected by the Dodd-Frank Act, under rules to be published by the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 15, 2011.”  RJC

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)  released its third discussion papers on Chain-of-Custody Certification for public comment. The public comment period is open for all stakeholders until August 22, 2011.

Feedback from the previous round of consultation (end of document): http://www.sec.gov/comments/s7-40-10/s74010-76.pdf



Solidaridad is an international network organisation with more than 20 years of experience in creating fair and sustainable supply chains from producer to consumer.

Solidaridad and its network of nine regional affiliate offices partner with companies, other NGOs, financial institutions and investors to develop supply chains that enable producers, such as farmers and miners, to lift themselves out of poverty.

The organisation also fosters support among consumers by building awareness of the opportunities that sustainable trade offers. Solidaridad has been working in the gold supply chain since 2006 to improve conditions at artisanal and small-sale mines in Latin America and Africa.

The Gold Programme expanded in 2010 to broaden its work to the industrial mining sector.

Standard Zero



Certification process for artisanal and small-scale mined gold. To qualify, mines must meet specific human rights, social and environmental standards and also ensure improvements in the economy of local communities.

Too Precious to Wear 


SeaWeb's Too Precious to Wear media campaign works with the
fashion, design, home décor and jewelry industries to create demand for
coral conservation. The campaign raises awareness of both deep-sea
corals and shallow-water coral reefs as living animals, and it seeks to
address the threats posed to coral by international trade.

Unearth Justice campaign by CAFOD


Mining is often a cause of conflict, environmental destruction and toxic pollution.

When new mines are developed, communities are often forced from their lands and homes, rivers and streams close to mines are polluted, and hillsides and fields devastated, with damage lasting long after mines have closed.

CAFOD is calling on governments and mining companies to end this injustice, and give poor communities a greater say in whether mining is allowed, how it operates, and who benefits.
We also work with local organisations supporting poor communities to stand up for their rights.


World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation


Educational arm of CIBJO. Non-profit foundation with the aim of establishing, developing and financing training tools to promote and improve corporate responsibility within the jewellery industry.


World Gold Council


to be completed

consultations on  Conflict-Free Gold Standard

‘Chain of Custody’ Standard


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this document is very much work in progress - updates to follow should I find some spare time....


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