Because of Cartier’s exceptional position in the jewelry world we believe that our responsibilities with respect to society encompass not only our own operations and our entire supply chain but also involve a broader role in seeking to make a difference in the jewelry industry at large – particularly in the mining and production of precious metals and minerals.
Over the past years we have sought to better understand the challenges which our industry faces in order to find relevant solutions to issues associated with large scale extraction as well as artisanal mining of precious metals.
These include social and environmental damages, and in some cases, distressing accounts of human rights abuse. While these types of issues are not exclusive to the jewelry supply chain and certainly will not be resolved by the industry alone, without the involvement and support of government authorities, our industry must rise to the challenge – a gift of jewelry is a particularly symbolic one, and our customers trust us to ensure that their purchase lives up to its sparkle.
At Cartier, our gold suppliers have unequivocally committed, in writing, to responsible gold sourcing practices, as described by the Responsible Jewellery Council in its Code of Practices. They have also pledged to put in place, within their operations and within their sphere of influence, everything they can to prevent gold which may finance human rights violations from being used in the watch and jewelry supply chain, particularly when it comes to the gold products they supply to us.
As the Responsible Jewellery Council is about to launch its certification system, our suppliers are now required to join the RJC and have their operations certified to its standard, which covers human rights, ethical, social and environmental performance.
We believe the RJC standard will be a powerful and effective way to drive positive change through the jewelry supply chain from mining all the way to retail. Indeed, 150 organizations have already agreed to adopt the RJC standard even before the system launch, an encouraging sign that momentum will continue to grow.
The desire to have a credible, reliable way of recognizing companies with responsible business practices, and the belief that our entire industry – and others such as financial institutions – would benefit from the availability of such a standard is one of the reasons which drove Cartier to co-found the RJC in 2005.
Beyond this commitment to supporting broad-based change through the development of standards, Cartier is also seeking to spotlight and reward pioneers and forward-thinkers in the area of gold extraction. We believe that by doing so, we can send a strong signal that there is indeed a market demand for better practices, encourage others to follow our lead, and contribute to changing the way the gold supply chain functions.
This is the reasoning behind our agreement with Goldlake, an Italian family-owned group operating a model alluvial mine in Honduras. Although we are currently purchasing their entire production, Goldlake’s Eurocantera mine still remains a small part of our gold supply. We hope that our agreement with Goldlake will be an example that inspires others, and will drive other high social and environmental value operations to emerge in the market.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, Cartier shall continue to seek ways to make a difference in the gold supply chain, taking steps that may directly benefit its own supply, and that serve to develop better practices in the industry as a whole.