Jewelers of America members must adhere to our Code of Professional Practices, which includes social and environmental responsible business practices.

Jewelers of America believes that gold should be extracted and processed in a manner that respects the needs of people and the earth.

We believe a commitment to responsible gold must include suppliers, to ensure that responsible practices are addressed at every point in the supply chain. Without the engagement of all segments of our industry, retailers’ individual pledges to source responsibly will not be meaningful. With that in mind, we work closely with a wide range of both industry and non-industry stakeholders (including the World Gold Council, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the U.S. Department of State and non-governmental organizations) to support good practices at every level of the gold jewelry supply chain.

Jewelers of America co-founded the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), which has created a worldwide diamond, gold and platinum group metals jewelry supply chain system for companies in all sectors, from mining through to retail. RJC completed its work on mining standards and officially launched its system in 2009. In March 2012, the RJC launched its Chain-of-Custody Standard for the precious metals supply chain. It is applicable to gold and platinum group metals.
 Jewelers of America also participates in and supports initiatives such as the Alliance for Responsible Mining and the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, as well as cross-sector work that is being done to develop responsibly sourced supply chains for gold and other minerals.

Jewelers of America applauds initiatives designed to improve the lives of artisanal gold miners, their families and communities. These include the efforts of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) and Alliance for Responsible Mining, who have developed a system for independent, third-party certification for gold in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities. These standards – which will be communicated by marking the product with Fairtrade and Fairmined hallmarks – will enable members of the sector to earn a better price for their gold. Additionally, they open up a new product category for retailers looking to sell certified fair trade product.

Jewelers of America does not take positions on individual mining projects. We do support broadly agreed-on standards for the responsible sourcing of minerals, as well as transparent, third-party verification to ensure those standards are being met.  We do, however, monitor important projects in the industry, such as the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. In order for the project to move forward, it must first undergo a lengthy approval process, with more than 70 permits required. In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft scientific study outlining the potential negative impacts that development of the mine could have on the Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery. Following public comment and a peer review process, the EPA will release a revised draft of this report and finalize its assessment in 2013. Based on this science-based assessment, the EPA could decide to use its authority under Section 404c of the Clean Water Act to restrict the disposal of mine waste into rivers, streams, lakes or wetlands. Jewelers of America will continue to monitor the proposed mine. We support adherence to the highest possible standards, due process that includes a science-based approach and transparency with regard to potential approval.

Updated March 2013