Christina T Miller living room sessions

Living Room Session: Core Approach to Responsible Sourcing

jewelry living room sessions responsible sourcing sustainibility Dec 21, 2020

Reflecting on 2020 and looking ahead to 2021

Watch the Dec. 4 Session

This Living Room Session featured a presentation by Maggie Gabos and Christina Miller, which was followed by a group discussion. Check out some of the highlights below.

  • Our vision for a responsible jewelry industry starts with an invitation. We invite the industry to be ambitious, guided by big goals, achieved with a step by step approach. This vision focuses on a human centered approach to responsible jewelry business practices, emphasizing collaboration to reach the ideal scenario. Using supply chains that protect and benefit people at all touch points. Engage with all stakeholders pushing to improve and make the industry better, by giving respect to all actors, and acknowledge each viewpoint. This starts with all actors having a voice and representation in the decision-making process. Their voices will broaden the impact in vulnerable mining communities, greater environmental protection efforts and mitigate pollution and restore mining sites. These efforts should be built in a long-term sustainable fashion, so there is a sustained impact.
  • "Be a blob" the game of tag in our childhood, is a good analogy of the group effort required to further the journey towards a responsible supply chain and a sustainable jewelry industry that will call upon everyone. Improvement is a group effort and increasing the efforts of everyone is the aim of the group. Not everyone will be involved and attain the lofty goals, but the group can welcome dissent and listen to other points of view. All the voices are important and the group can best address vulnerabilities in the supply chain, to move forward and make the whole group stronger, by allowing a conversation. Flexibility is key to bounce ideas, absorb new practices and not judge or pressure dissent. The challenges are great and the strength of the group is worth fighting for.
  • Much of the focus of improving the impact of the jewelry industry is upstream, and this affects the day-to-day operations of your jewelry business. This journey is part and parcel of your daily operations. The process of reporting and how you are using your resources while integrating them to your business practices. After identifying your values, and clarifying your vision, then evaluate how your practices reflect these. The steps are to map the process from start to finish and adjust a little at a time. Communicate with your suppliers and bring them into this journey. The aim is to engage with them so they too can adapt, adjust and change towards better practices. This cycle can be repeated towards greater improvement over time.

Audience Discussion:

  • The challenge of greenwashing is a concerning issue. And it dampens the progress of all the actors doing the work to follow best practices. This misinformation will be combated by means of radical transparency, acknowledge the challenges, areas for improvement, and be honest about the work in process and the actions you are taking to move forward. The efforts come from this community and pool the ideas. Transparency and honesty is pivotal to the long term impact of these efforts. We need to call out successes and also become very specific about our claims and not over-state with grandiose words that cannot be backed-up by facts.
  • What mechanisms do we have to monitor false claims? Our language for sourcing practices may not apply to green practices, they can be a catch all, leading to confusion and generalizations. Collectively, the jewelry industry can point-out bad practices or violations of the FTC rules. Some others have complaints mechanisms with processes in place to address these problems. The Jewelry Glossary Project is taking steps to agree on definitions and encourage the adoption of these definitions for some key words being used by the industry lending credibility and transparency to the trade. Through educating the industry we will further the cause and better serve consumers.
  • One of the challenges of this space is to embrace complexity. The aim is to make jewelers have the ability to speak to what they are doing to address those responsibility initiatives in an honest way. So, will using more subtle terms speak to the consumer and still give you differentiation so customers find you? Sustainability and responsibility claims definitely attracts consumers. The use of catchy words to highlight your efforts while giving customers the opportunity to dig deeper, is the delicate balance we try to achieve.

What the full video and other past sessions HERE.

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