On 11th July, Global Witness published an open letter addressed to the Council about its new Code of Practice (no, I did not know such a thing existed either). The letter says that, more than 1,100 members across the jewellery supply chain, including mining companies, jewellery retailers, refiners, manufacturers and others, the Council is in a unique position to support companies in adopting stronger responsible sourcing practices in the industry. The final version of the Code was published on April 24th. The letter notes and lists significant improvements in the 2019 Code of Practices (COP), compared to the previous 2013 version. These include explicit recognition of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, the leading international standard on sourcing in the minerals sector – and which is to apply to all members in the gold, silver, PGM, diamonds, and coloured gemstones supply chains without exception. It also welcomed the call for adherence to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an important standard to help protect miners and mining communities from the harmful effects of mercury. However, the letter did mention concerns on what were said to be significant gaps in the new Code – for example, on waste, emissions, and tailings where provisions remain too vague and unspecific to provide a reasonable degree of assurance. The letter also voices concern about the time taken to fully implement the new Code, with some Council members will not be required to be in full compliance with the new Code until 2024.
The Responsible Jewellery Council Codes, and other information, including its Chain of Custody standards for gold and platinum group metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium), can be found at –
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