By David Brough
Responsibility, including a committed support for sustainability, as well as collaborations along the supply chain and a strengthening of values will be key to corporate resilience as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, an RJC webinar heard.
The webinar of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) on May 20, coinciding with the launch of the RJC’s new website and annual report, featured several leaders from across the gems and jewellery industry, including De Beers Group, Bulgari, Pomellato and Roberto Coin. The discussion was chaired by London-based RJC Executive Director Iris Van der Veken.
The main messages of the webinar were the need to strengthen the entire supply chain in the face of a severe global economic downturn, by fortifying partnerships and protecting employees and collaborators.
“You need to be a part of the solution to these issues (Covid-19) if you are going to connect with consumers,” said Stephen Lussier, Executive Vice-President, Consumer and Brands of De Beers Group.
“There is no industry unless all parts of it are working,” he added.
“We all have to act to protect each other.”
Panellists called for a strengthening of values by companies in the gems and jewellery sector, so that consumers can buy into a responsibly sourced, sustainable luxury product.
Roberto Coin expressed optimism for the business outlook despite surging numbers of unemployed, noting that jewellery sales had proven resilient in the last major economic crisis of 2008/9.
“Businesses will start again, but in a different manner,” he said.
“We have to invent a new scenario. We need patience. We need courage.”
Panellists appealed for a better balance between working practices and nature.
“People will conclude that the reason we have the (coronavirus) pandemic was due to a misuse of the natural world, and this will create a new interest in sustainability,” Lussier said.
Jewellery has strong prospects to compete effectively against other types of luxury goods in a post-Covid world because of its association with love, family and relationships, the webinar heard.
“One trend that should give us some reason for optimism is this idea that people in the lockdown ask themselves the question, what is really important in life? The people you love,” the De Beers executive said.