As the Responsible Jewelery Council (RJC) continues to be under siege for its handling of Alrosa’s situation following the invasion of Ukraine – among other issues – industry experts and commentators have called for its restructuring rather than its dismantling.
As the dissection continues, one area worthy of reflection is the RJC Membership Directory and the information it contains.
Or maybe it would be better to say lack information contained inside?
The RJC website offers a handy “Find a Member” search tool. It is an attempt to provide a membership directory. Each member’s listing displays the company name, date joined, head office location, certification status (date or to be reached), and a company URL, which allows users to ” click” directly on the member’s website.
At the time of publication, the RJC website registered 1,455 members, of which 1,018 were listed as certified, 208 were certified “chain guard” and 437 had not achieved certification status.
The directory is 182 pages long (it only lists six members per page) and it also lists members by country, all standard practice on an industry website in 2022.
However, of the 1,455 ads, more than 30% (over 400) do not display a link to a website. You might assume it’s because the member didn’t provide a website to list, but that would seem unusual.
Apart from that, the most important thing is that JewelerExtensive searches of failed to find a website for over 200 RJC members.
To be more specific, on January 11, 2020, the RJC had 1,406 members on its directory pages. The number of members who did not include a website link was 459, however, when Jeweler searched the website of these companies, we only found 260 of them, which means that there were about 200 members for which Jeweler could not locate a website.
It’s not new.
In March 2021 – almost 12 months earlier – when Jeweler began to scrutinize the functioning of the RJC, it registered 1198 members.
Of these, about 400 did not list a business website and of the 400 Jeweler could not locate a website matching the RJC member name for approximately 120 companies.
The “Find a Member” service is titled: “Find a Sustainability Partner” and goes on to state: “The RJC Membership Registry is a publicly viewable list of all current RJC members. All members are accountable to the RJC Code of Practices. To achieve “certified” status, members must complete an independent third-party audit to demonstrate compliance with the code of practice.
There is no suggestion that these companies do not exist or are “fake”. We are simply reporting that we were unable to find a website address correlating to the RJC member.
In some cases, a Google search brings up listings of the company’s existence, such as government records, credit reports, and in some cases Facebook pages and Linkedin profiles, but no actual website, however. , it remains that the websites of at least 200 RJC members cannot or are not easily discovered.
This represents around 15% of members who cannot be easily contacted by a simple Google search, which makes it somewhat unusual, especially since the RJC website does not list the phone number or address. member’s email.
Background Reading: What is the responsibility of the Responsible Jewelery Council?
Most interestingly, in an open letter to business leaders in the jewelry industry dated February 14, 2022, former chief executive Iris Van der Veken wrote that the RJC has “more than 1,550 member companies” and yet, a month earlier, it had only 1,406.
Could the number have increased by 144 over the next month? Well, as of today there are only 1,455 members – still 95 less than two months earlier when Van der Veken said it was 1,550.
And while the RJC has seen a number of high-profile members leave the organization in recent weeks due to Alrosa’s membership management, that won’t explain the nearly 100-member gap.
The answer may be that the RJC had “no more than 1,550 members” at the time Van der Veken was calling for more transparency and accountability within the jewelry industry. She left her post on March 31 due to what is believed to be her dissatisfaction with the RJC’s handling of Alrosa’s membership following the invasion of Ukraine.
That aside, it still doesn’t explain how the websites of 15% of its members can’t be found.
The most recent financial report published on the RJC website is for the calendar year 2020 and records over £2,250,000 (US$2,929,600) in revenue. The financial report lists 11 employees, down from 13 in 2019 when it had a turnover of £2,212,000 (US$2,880,100).
What is the responsibility of the Responsible Jewelery Council?
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Part II: Michael Hill Changes His Website and Removes Diamond Claims