"More Shine than Substance" - Report on Responsible Jewellery Council by unions & NGOs (2013)

In May 2013,  IndustriALL, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Australia), United Steelworkers (USA) and environmental NGOs Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada published a report, "More Shine Than Substance: How RJC certification fails to create responsible jewelry".  According to the groups, the report "documents how the RJC’s certification system offers little in the way of real solutions to...serious human rights, labor and environmental problems...The RJC Board of Directors consists exclusively of industry representatives, with no representatives from impacted communities, labor, or environmental organizations...The system lacks transparency...Several RJC standards are weak and violate widely accepted social and environmental principles. Under the RJC Code, mining companies can operate in conflict zones, fail to protect workers’ rights to join unions, and allow children as young as 14 to work.  It also fails to place limits on water and air pollution and allows toxic waste disposal into lakes and ocean environments."

- press release: "Industry controlled Responsible Jewellery Council fails to fulfill promise of preventing conflict diamonds and dirty gold", 22 May 2013
- full report: "More Shine Than Substance More Shine Than Substance: How RJC certification fails to create responsible jewelry", May 2013
- see also: "Report slams RJC for irresponsible practices", Mining, People and the Environment, 22 May 2013

We invited Responsible Jewellery Council to respond.  It provided the following statement:

"RJC Response to ‘More Shine Than Substance’ Report" [PDF], Responsible Jewellery Council, 6 Jun 2013:

"Key points: Governance and standards development...RJC certifies companies, rather than individual facilities...Gaps in the Code of Practices...OECD’s Guidance related to due diligence when sourcing minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas...Auditor Accredita tion and Audit Reports...Complaints Mechanism"

It also referred us to:

"Substance or Shine: ISEAL responds to new publication criticising well-known mining standard", ISEAL Alliance (Intl. Social & Environmental Accreditation & Labelling Alliance), 30 May 2013