Why we’re telling the Responsible Jewellery Council to clean up or shut down

Last week, we blogged about a Peruvian news investigation that linked American and European companies to illegal and destructive gold mining in the Amazon rainforest.

We discovered that two of these companies, Metalor and Italpreziosi, are certified as “responsible” by the Responsible Jewellery Council, an industry group that claims to evaluate and certify responsible supply chains for the jewelry industry. But its industry-centered approach, which excludes civil society and affected communities from decision-making, has made it a weak system riddled with problems.

Metalor and Italpreziosi are certified as “responsible” by the RJC. Yet the recently published report from OjoPúblico paints a disturbingly more complicated picture. Reporters traced some of the dirtiest gold  — illegally extracted, mercury processed gold from the Amazon — to these two companies, among several others.

Now, we’re calling on the RJC’to clean up its act by:

  • Ensuring that affected communities, unions and and civil society groups have an equal seat at the decisionmaking table. Consultation and invitations to participate in subcommittees are not enough.
  • Issuing certificates to specific mines and factory sites, not corporations. As detailed in the report More Shine than Substance,  certifying companies at the corporate rather than site level has resulted in the certification of companies linked to irresponsible operations or practices.
  • Immediately cancelling Metalor and Italpreziosi’s certificates. While decertifying these two companies will not fix RJC’s inherent problems, it is an important first step the RJC must take to make good on its claims to building a responsible supply chain for jewelry.

We hope you’ll join us in telling the RJC’s new CEO Andrew Bone to take immediate steps to stop greenwashing dirty gold.