To celebrate the launch of the new industry SDG Taskforce, Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director at Responsible Jewelry Council, spoke with The Plumb Club about this exciting milestone and the impact on consumer confidence.
Congratulations on the launch of the industry SDG Taskforce, this is a considerable milestone for sustainability in the jewelry industry.
Thank you. We’re excited! The launch of the RJC SDG Taskforce signals a monumental shift in the industry and is an exciting milestone for the global jewelry and watch industry. 15 years ago RJC had a vision to transform the jewelry and watch industry to be more responsible and sustainable. We began by uniting the industry behind a common set of standards, and now we are uniting the industry again as we go beyond compliance from ‘do no harm’ to ‘do good’. Leadership is critical, for the industry and within the industry, and that is why I am so proud of the Plumb Club Partnership as this is real pioneering work.
Why is the SDG Taskforce critical to the future of the jewelry industry and how will this have a positive impact on consumer confidence?
Consumer confidence is critical to our industry. Over the past year, consumers have realized that sustainability includes employers protecting jobs, supporting the communities in which they operate, ensuring equality, and protecting human rights. It is vital that consumers can see the positive actions being made by organizations throughout the entire jewellery supply chain. The SDG Taskforce will provide a clear course of action and practical guidance to jewelry-related businesses and, quite importantly, provide a way to measure and track progress across the whole industry.
Can you tell us a little more about what the SDG Taskforce will do?
Our primary goal is to advance the sustainability agenda in our industry through action. And so, the SDG Taskforce will establish an SDG Action Platform to coordinate the efforts of the industry, launch a global library of best practices, build a unified reporting framework based on existing international best practices, and further develop new ways and ideas to implement the 17 UN SDGs within the watch and jewelry industry. The SDG Taskforce will report on progress made within member companies and the industry through the annual RJC Progress Report and updates will be published to a dedicated web page.
The jewelry supply chain is complex, how have you managed to ensure full representation?
Representation and cooperation within and outside of the industry is a core principle of the SDG Taskforce. The SDG Taskforce includes 26 leaders of the global jewelry industry together with the representatives of NGOs, other trade organizations and academia who will convene on a regular basis to drive change and track progress throughout the supply chain – from mining to retail.
What action can small businesses take towards the SDGs?
I often say that sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement. Whatever the size of your organization and wherever you are in your journey, there is always something that you can do. Most likely you are already working towards the SDGs, and you can build from where you are.