Please tune in to a free webinar on Jewellery Outlook featuring a conversation about the changing face of sustainability during COVID-19, between Iris Van Der Veken, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), and Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough. Iris will outline the key messages that she will deliver when she joins the VOICE trade fair and summit in Vicenza later this month. VOICE will be the first physical jewellery trade show since before the emergency.
Please watch replay by clicking on this link:
Iris Van Der Veken, in the following interview with David Brough, outlines how the need for a responsible supply chain is more acute than ever during COVID-19.
Iris Van Der Veken: It is a big moment as we will gather face-to-face in Vicenza. My message is we need to focus on Transformative Partnerships to drive consumer confidence.
We are a strong and united industry and together we can succeed in these challenging times.
The jewellery and watch industry is a global supply chain – we are interconnected and we affect each other.
I believe expectations will be reset for the entire industry around greater collaboration, transformative partnerships and collective responsibility across all parts of the value chain. It is all about consumer confidence.
We have a huge opportunity to create a more healthy and resilient equal society that is balanced with nature.
I strongly believe the companies that will prosper will be those which move beyond compliance, take care of their people, manage supplier and customer relationships with integrity, embrace climate measures and have strong management systems to integrate sustainability in their core strategy.
How is sustainability changing during COVID-19?
Iris Van Der Veken: Sustainability now means resilient business. COVID has changed the world forever: it has shown the vulnerabilities in our global systems and highlighted the work to be done to safeguard people, strengthen our supply chains, and develop effective public-private partnerships.
Currently, what are your top priorities at RJC?
Iris Van Der Veken: My priorities are Members First and Transformative Partnerships.
We have a Members First strategy that is at the heart of everything we do at RJC. Our priorities include transforming the way we work to be more efficient (going through an exciting journey of digital transformation), strengthening our relationships with members (through focused one-on-one sessions and smaller groups on supporting our members in their certification journey) to serve them better.
At the same time we want to attract more companies knowing that diversity in membership will strengthen the implementation of the Code of Practices further.
We believe in Partnerships that transform the lives of people on the ground. We will continue to work closely on synergies and harmonisation to support our members.
We are proud of our Partnership with the United Nations Global Compact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) We launched an SDG Action Platform in 2019 and now our focus is on impacts.
How is the RJC responding to the needs of its members during these challenging times?
Iris Van Der Veken: Leadership and practical support. As the leading standards-setting organisation for responsible business in the jewellery and watch global supply chain, we lead by example and we have ensured that our colleagues are safe and have peace of mind that can better support our members.
It is vital that we protect the consumer trust in our industry and we are working closely with independent auditors and members to maintain the integrity of the audit process during these challenging times.
We believe responsible business creates resilient business and we are supporting our members with toolkits and additional guidance. I invite you to go to our website to find out more: https://www.responsiblejewellery.com/.
Our team is working hard every day to find solid and flexible solutions to help our members go through the certification.