LVMH, Kering, Richemont Among Leaders Improving Traceability of Gems

MILAN — World-leading jewelers are taking an active stance to improve the traceability of colored gemstones- and banding together to pursue and support this objective.

At the virtual 2021 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains on Wednesday, Chopard; Kering; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, including the newly acquired Tiffany & Co.; Compagnie Financière Richemont SA; Swarovski and colored gemstone mining companies Gemfields and Muzo (together, the Colored Gemstones Working Group or CGWG) revealed the launch of the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform.

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The platform, developed by sustainability consulting firm TDI Sustainability together with CGWG, is freely available and open to the entire gemstone and jewelry industry, from mining and cutting to polishing, trading and retailing, aiming to promote a change in the sector.

“By providing access to knowledge,” said Assheton Stewart Carter, chief executive officer of TDI Sustainability, “[the objective] is to democratize sustainability, so it is accessible to even the smallest businesses and the individual craftsperson.”

Colored gemstones are often mined in remote areas by artisanal and small-scale miners, which makes responsible sourcing particularly complex and the platform hinges on 10 sustainability commitments for responsible sourcing and production. It provides free resources to learn about more than 40 sustainability topics relevant to the sector, from responsible sourcing and due diligence, to human rights, labor rights and environmental protection. The platform also includes self-assessment tools that allow brands to take steps to improve sustainability practices. In addition, there is a community section that promotes collaboration between businesses and their suppliers, customers and other partners, by sharing information.

“Now more than ever, we know that inspiration and mastery are two of the facets that make jewels precious — with responsible sourcing and production being just as essential,” said Eleonora Rizzuto, sustainable development director, chief ethics and compliance officer at Bulgari Group and LVMH Italy, who represented the Rome-based jeweler at the conference. Touting Bulgari‘s sustainable practices across its business and its entire supply chain, “with the highest consideration for ethics and environment,” Rizzuto said that “in this evolving context, the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform is, at the same time, a tangible result of a collective effort and a starting point to build a shared vision and deliver concrete actions.”

“The beauty of a gem no longer depends simply on its color, cut, clarity and carat, but relies also on the stone’s story and the conditions in which it was extracted and transformed,” said Hélène Valade, environmental development director at LVMH. The group stands by “offering jewelry mounted with responsibly sourced gemstones,” as a duty shared with stakeholders. “Only through collaboration such as within the CGWG can we bring about true and long-lasting change in the sector and add a stone to the legacy of responsible mineral sourcing.”

Caroline Scheufele, copresident and artistic director at Chopard, which has been focusing on responsible sourcing since 2013, admitted “there is still a long way to go to improve sustainable practices in the field of colored stones,” praising the work undertaken through the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform, which is helping to make progress.

The platform is yet another sign of brands collaborating, which was highlighted by Geraldine Vallejo, sustainability program director at Kering, as “key in moving forward traceability and transparency.” Kering has long championed sustainability as “inherent” to luxury and, after the launch of the Kering Standards for raw materials and manufacturing processes in 2018, “this project is one more stone added to our path toward building knowledge and capacity on sustainable sourcing.”

Also underscoring the “power of industry collaboration to tackle responsible supply chain challenges,” Matthew Kilgarriff, director of corporate social responsibility at Richemont International SA, described the launch of the platform as “a milestone in the industry’s responsible journey,” encouraging all suppliers and members of the chain to join in and “leverage its tools.”

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